An attempt to jail a man for life for the brutal, unprovoked murder of a woman on her way home in Melbourne has failed.
Codey Herrmann was sentenced in October 2019 by the Supreme Court of Victoria to 36 years in prison with 30 years of non-parole for the rape and murder of Aiia Maasarwe.
Prosecutors had appealed because 30 years was not enough, but the Court of Appeal dismissed the case Friday.
Ms Maasarwe, a Palestinian-Israeli international student, was just 21 when she was randomly attacked by Herrmann while FaceTimeing her sister while walking in Bundoora on her way home from a comedy show.
Shortly after midnight on January 16, 2019, she fell victim to Herrmann’s unprovoked brutality.
He knocked her unconscious, dragged her into the bushes, attacked her and set her body on fire in a sickening and senseless act.
A bench of five judges — Chris Maxwell, Stephen Kaye, Richard Niall, Terrance Forrest and Karin Emerton — said on Friday that Herrmann’s crimes were “deeply shocking” and “seemingly inexplicable.”
Herrmann had never been convicted of a crime before and his actions that day caused “extreme personal grief and enormous public suffering,” according to their reasons for the verdict.
But they said sentencing judge Elizabeth Hollingworth used great care and skill in making her decision not to sentence him to life in prison.
She had weighed Herrmann’s severe personality disorder and childhood of deep hardship and trauma against the shocking facts of the crime, they said.
“The expert evidence from associate professor Andrew Carroll, a forensic psychiatrist, established that Codey Herrmann’s severe personality disorder was a direct result of his childhood deprivation, and that there was a clear causal relationship between his impaired mental functioning and the crime said the verdict. said.
“In our respectful opinion, her honor was fully justified in viewing Codey Herrmann as less morally guilty of this horrendous behavior than a person who had not suffered such hardship and limitation.”
Director of Public Prosecutions Kerri Judd QC told the court in a March hearing that Herrmann should be jailed for life to protect the community.
But his attorney Tim Marsh had said a minimum of 30 years was an appropriate sentence.
He argued that it was right that Herrmann’s young age, personality disorder, Aboriginal disadvantage and disadvantaged upbringing were taken into account by the criminal court.
“The learned sentencing judge’s comments and conclusions are unobtrusive, uncontroversial and balanced,” he said.
“(She) summarizes the respondent’s developmental history and recognizes the respondent’s childhood as one of extreme physical and emotional deprivation.
“She admitted, inferentially, that he should not be viewed in the same way as ‘a person who had benefited from a stable upbringing and whose values had been shaped by appropriate parenting’.”
Judd had argued that a 30-year minimum for the murder was “manifestly inadequate,” but the Court of Appeals disagreed.
“Violent, unprovoked and sexually motivated crimes against women in the public domain have an impact on the community as a whole,” Ms Judd said in March.
“(It) restricts the free movement of people within our society, especially women.
“This was a cruel, heartless and deliberate murder of an unsuspecting young woman.”
Hermann could not explain his motive for the rape and murder other than that he “hated the world”, the court was told.
“The murder was committed against a young woman who was a stranger to the respondent and who was just walking home on the street,” Judd said.
Hermann, who was only 20 years old when he murdered Mrs Maasarwe, is eligible for release in 2049.