Convicted murderer Cameron Mansell has had an appeal against his conviction for contempt of court dismissed.
Mansell was sentenced to life in prison with an 18-year minimum in November 2011 after a jury found him guilty of murdering Perth multi-millionaire Craig Puddy, who went missing in May 2010.
After his conviction, Mansell had 48 counts of stealing, regarding a separate matter, to address in Perth Magistrate's Court.
He was warned that he would be held in contempt when he refused to appear in court via video link from prison on three occasions in December 2011, despite an order from Magistrate Joe Mignacca-Randazzo and instruction from the prison superintendent and his own lawyer.
The matter was discussed at a later hearing in which Mansell was given an opportunity to argue why he should not have a contempt of court conviction against him.
Mansell appeared in person on December 22 and tendered three letters he had written to the court, including one where he apologised to the two magistrates involved.
In the letter to magistrate Mignacca-Randazzo, Mansell stated that a person in custody should have a right to choose to appear in person before the court.
He claimed that appearing via video link in prison clothes would be prejudicial to how he was perceived.
His lawyer also argued that it was not Mansell’s intention to show contempt.
But magistrate Mignacca-Randazzo still recorded a conviction.
Mansell appealed the matter, claiming that because he was not present in the courtroom his act of refusal could not constitute contempt “in the face of the court” as the law suggested.
He also questioned the fairness of the proceedings.
Mansell suggested that his acts were not serious enough to constitute contempt or, alternatively, that the magistrate should have exercised his discretion not to record a conviction.
However, in the court of appeal today, Justice Stephen Hall rejected the appeal.
“Whilst the appellant’s letters have been referred to as ‘letters of apology’ that is a characterisation which may be doubted,” he said.“The letters do contain expressions of regret for what occurred. However, they also seek to justify the appellant’s course of action.”
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