A woman who gave critical evidence in the trial of cold-blooded murderer Jack Harrison Vincent Sadler initially faced the real risk of a charge of murder before she cooperated with police, a Supreme Court Judge said.
A suppression order was lifted on Justice Robert Pearce's sentencing comments about Gemma Elizabeth Clark, 27, following a Supreme Court jury's murder verdict on Thursday.
Justice Pearce was considering an eight-year sentence for Clark after she pleaded guilty to being an accessory after the fact and failing to report the August 15 2018 killing of Jake Anderson-Brettner.
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"Miss Clark committed crimes of considerable gravity. It is a serious example of both crimes," he said.
"She played a significant part in concealing the crime, albeit that it was ultimately discovered.
"Her conduct added greatly to the distress of the victim's mother, his partner and the rest of his family and friends, and will likely have a lasting impact.
"Her lies to the police are not an aggravating factor but indicate the absence of immediate remorse.
"Her admissions came only after the gravity of her situation became apparent to her, when the evidence of her link to the murder was clear and she faced the real risk of a charge of murder."
Justice Pearce discounted the sentence by 10 per cent for an early plea of guilty and by 20 per cent for her willingness to give evidence in the murder trail.
"In the final conclusion I have allowed a final discount of just over 30 per cent because the appropriate head sentence is imprisonment for five and a half years," he said.
Justice Pearce set a non parole period of three years from August 18, 2018.
SADLER RELATED NEWS
- DAY 1 | The Crown presents its case against Jack Sadler
- DAY 2 | Jack Sadler 'lied' about seeing alleged victim
- DAY 3 | Accused murderer asked witness to cut deceased's toes off
- DAY 4 | Police found gun at accused murderer's home '
- DAY 5 | 'I heard someone saying 'please man don't, please man stop'
- DAY 6 | Accused was angry, told girlfriend not to tell police 'about the Jeep'
- DAY 7 | Man died quickly from lethal shots
Clark gave crucial evidence under the threat that if she failed to co-operate the sentence could be reviewed and increased on appeal.
She told the jury that there were only two people present at the Dion Crescent house on the night of Mr Anderson-Brettner's murder-contrary to Mr Sadler's claim that three unnamed Victorian drug dealers shot Mr Anderson-Brettner and told him to dispose of the body.
She also gave gruesome details of her role in helping place body parts in garbage bags and drop them in wheelie bins around Launceston and at Gravelly Beach.
She told the jury she had helped Sadler carry Mr Anderson-Brettner's torso to the car and get it out of the car at the Sideling.
Justice Pearce said the state accepted that Clark was not party to the murder itself, and did not know in advance what was intended.
"She not only failed to report his killing but also acted with the intention of keeping the murder secret so the perpetrator may escape punishment for his crime," he said.
"Although she initially lied to the police about her involvement, on Sunday 19 August she took police officers to the place where Mr Anderson-Brettner's torso was found and then gave them further information which led to the collection of other evidence.
"The early plea also satisfies me that despite the absence of immediate remorse she came to appreciate the appalling wrong she had done and formed the intention to do what she can to make amends, although of course she can never fully do so," he said.
"The case against her was a very strong one although that is partly because of what she admitted to the police.
"The Director [of Public Prosecutions] accepts that Ms Clark's eventual co-operation with police led to part of the deceased's body being found when it was and to other significant information and evidence of which the police would not otherwise have been aware."
He said Clark had no prior convictions.
"She comes from a good family who remain supportive of her," he said.
"She is well educated and has held many responsible part time employment positions while she was at school and university.
"Her ambition was to be a teacher but, because of the nature of her crimes, her chance of ever pursuing that career or another like it is now gone."
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