Retrial for woman on kill charge
A TOOWOOMBA woman who slashed her partner's throat after he accused her of infidelity has been granted a retrial.
Leanne Maree Rogers was convicted in Toowoomba Supreme Court of attempting to murder her de facto Steven Smith after a heavy drinking session in October, 2010.
She had pleaded guilty to intending to cause grievous bodily harm, which the Crown refused to accept, but maintained she was not guilty of the more serious charge.
Rogers, also known as Boorman, appealed the attempted murder conviction in the Court of Appeal, arguing the judge had failed to explain the meaning of grievous bodily harm to the jury and his directions "devalued the defence case".
Court of Appeal president Margaret McMurdo said, in a written judgment handed down yesterday, this omission amounted to a miscarriage of justice, a stance two other justices supported.
"In the absence of a comprehensive judicial direction as to the meaning of grievous bodily harm, I consider there is a danger ... the jury failed to fully consider the reasonable hypothesis well open on the evidence that (Rogers) formed an intention not to kill Mr Smith but rather to cause him grievous bodily harm," she said.
During the trial, the prosecution argued the only inference from the evidence was that Rogers' actions and words showed she sought to kill Mr Smith.
"She may have failed but she did attempt to kill him by a means well adapted to fulfilment, namely, taking a knife to his chest and neck," the Court of Appeal judgment said, summarising the prosecution case.
Rogers' defence counsel told the jury "there is a huge difference in common sense between intending to hurt somebody and intending to kill them" and argued her threats to kill were no more than "angry hot air".
Although this occurred mostly separately, when they were together they argued, at one point Mr Smith accusing Rogers of infidelity.
He claimed during the trial that she attacked him without warning just before midnight and repeatedly said: "I'm going to kill you ...".
Mr Smith suffered five injuries including a 10cm wide, 2cm deep cut to his chest and a 4cm cut to his neck.
The latter - from a slashing more than a stabbing motion - severed an artery and caused heavy bleeding.
Rogers stopped her attack and Mr Smith escaped.