Gerard Baden-Clay conviction downgraded from murder to manslaughter

Caity Stone

Acting Attorney-General Cameron Dick announces he may look into appealing the decision in Gerard Baden-Clay's new manslaughter conviction as the previously convicted murderer prepares to be re-sentenced in the new year.

Gerard Baden-Clay's appeal decision was announced earlier in the day.

The appeal was lodged four months ago when Baden-Clay's lawyers argued why the real estate agent should not have been convicted.

In Queensland the charge of manslaughter typically attracts a sentence of eight to 12 years.

Baden-Clay has already served three and a half years since his arrest in 2012 and could be out in four years time depending on his re-sentencing.

Gerard Baden-Clay. Source: Supplied.
Gerard Baden-Clay. Source: Supplied.

In a statement by Acting Attorney-General Cameron Dick he stated "I have requested legal advice today about the prospects of success on an appeal against the decision of the Court of Appeal involving Gerard Baden-Clay."

"Once that advice has been received and considered, a decision will be made as to whether an appeal should be lodged. The Attorney-General must make a decision on any possible appeal within 28 days."

Baden-Clay, has always maintained he did not murder Allison and claims the scratches on his face came from shaving.

The scratches that appeared on Baden-Clay's face. Source: Supplied.
The scratches that appeared on Baden-Clay's face. Source: Supplied.



Baden-Clay lawyers have now claimed that the scratches were caused by Allison after a fight occurred between the couple.

Baden-Clay's lawyers have claimed that he unintentionally killed his wife.

Baden-Clay, 45, was convicted of murdering wife Allison at their home in Brookfield, in Brisbane鈥檚 west, in April 2012.

Today's hearing comes four months after Chief Justice Catherine Holmes, Justice Hugh Fraser and Justice Robert Gotterson heard arguments from the former real estate agent鈥檚 legal team about why he should not have been convicted.



Allison family have released the following statement:

"Today's hearing comes four months after Chief Justice Catherine Holmes, Justice Hugh Fraser and Justice Robert Gotterson heard arguments from the former real estate agent鈥檚 legal team about why he should not have been convicted."

"The family of Allison are disappointed by today鈥檚 Court of Appeal decision, and remain supportive of the original finding of the court. The await the legal process to play out in the hope that the justice for Allison will be served."

"The family would like to thank the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) for their ongoing efforts in seeking justice for Allison, as well as the broader public for their messages for support."

"As always, the efforts of the family remain centred around the well-being of Allison鈥檚 daughters, who now face a further period of uncertainty. They ask the public continue to respect the privacy of the family."

Allison Baden-Clay's parents Priscilla and Geoff Dickie leave court after the appeal by Gerard Baden-Clay over his murder conviction at the Court of Appeal. Source: Supplied.
Allison Baden-Clay's parents Priscilla and Geoff Dickie leave court after the appeal by Gerard Baden-Clay over his murder conviction at the Court of Appeal. Source: Supplied.

Judges' reasons why Gerard Baden-Clay won his appeal


  • No motive for murder was given at the earlier trial: evidence of Baden-Clay's financial stress and his affair suggested a context of strain which may have led to a confrontation, but didn't point to murder rather than manslaughter.


  • Nothing about Baden-Clay's facial scratches indicated how he got them, whether in a heated argument or a murderous attack.


  • There was a lack of circumstantial evidence - Baden-Clay never spoke of an intention to kill, there was no sign of blood or disorder at their house and no evidence of noise, and Allison's autopsy didn't find any major injury.


  • Conclusions that Baden-Clay disposed of his wife's body and lied about what happened don't allow the jury to infer he intended to kill her, and it's equally possible he acted out of awareness of having committed manslaughter.


  • There was a reasonable alternative explanation: during a violent argument Baden-Clay delivered a blow which killed his wife (for example, she fell and hit her head), and in panic he took Allison's body to the Kholo Creek hoping it would be washed away.


  • Therefore the jury could not properly have been satisfied beyond reasonable doubt that Baden-Clay's intention to kill or cause serious harm had been proven.

The couple in happier times on their wedding day. Source: Facebook.
The couple in happier times on their wedding day. Source: Facebook.

By its own admission, the crown's case against Baden-Clay was a circumstantial one, but the accumulation of evidence was powerful.

A post-mortem examination failed to determine a cause of death because of decomposition, and apart from a chipped tooth and possible bruising, there were no fractures to Allison's body.

But forensic pathologist Dr Nathan Milne believed Allison did not die from natural causes.

The crown said she died at the hands of her husband, the last person to see her alive.

At the time of her disappearance, Baden-Clay had marks on his face and body that drew the attention of police.

He had excuses for them, though: he had cut himself shaving in a rush; the marks on his neck were where he had crushed a caterpillar that had landed on him while he was watching one of his daughters compete in a cross-country race; and marks on his hand were from a screwdriver that slipped while he was helping renovate a friend's house, but marks on his chest and shoulder could not be explained by him.

The murder trial exposed a couple living very different lives publicly and in private. Source: Facebook.
The murder trial exposed a couple living very different lives publicly and in private. Source: Facebook.

However, three forensic experts testified that marks on Baden-Clay's face were likely fingernail scratches and Baden-Clay's claim that they were from a razor was simply implausible.

They said marks on Baden-Clay's body could also be from scratching, although they were less conclusive.

Then there was the dripping blood found in the boot of Allison's four-wheel drive. DNA testing confirmed it was Allison's.


The murder trial exposed a couple living very different lives publicly and in private.

On the face of it, the Baden-Clays were a successful family, running their own prestige real estate company.

But they were in deep financial trouble and Baden-Clay was having trouble paying off loans to friends.

Baden-Clay was also caught between two women: his wife and lover. Source: Facebook.
Baden-Clay was also caught between two women: his wife and lover. Source: Facebook.

In desperation, he had begged the state Member for Moggill, Dr Bruce Flegg, for a loan of up to 400,000, fearing he would go bankrupt without it.

Baden-Clay was also caught between two women: his wife and lover.

In marriage counselling, Baden-Clay had professed to want a future with Allison, but at the same time was vowing to leave his wife on her birthday for former employee Toni McHugh.

An email trail between Ms McHugh and a secret account set up by Baden-Clay under the name Bruce Overland portrayed a tumultuous affair, and growing frustrations from Ms McHugh about her lover's unfulfilled promises.

The former mistress of accused wife killer Gerard Baden-Clay has told his murder trial about two other affairs he had while he was married. Source: 7News
The former mistress of accused wife killer Gerard Baden-Clay has told his murder trial about two other affairs he had while he was married. Source: 7News

"Well you'll have to forgive me that I feel disappointed when this happens. I'm sick of hiding," Ms McHugh wrote on February 20, 2012.

"I'm sick of being second best and having to take the back seat ... all so she doesn't find out.

"Why should I believe things are going to be any different than the past[?]"

Ms McHugh wrote on March 27 she had looked at rental properties.