The West

McKenna wants jail term cut
Appeal: Dennis John McKenna. Picture: Sharon Smith/The West Australian

Former Katanning hostel warden Dennis John McKenna yesterday lodged an appeal to reduce his time behind bars for the brazen sexual abuse of 17 boarders entrusted to his care.

McKenna, previously des-cribed by a judge as treating the Katanning hostel as a "sexual smorgasbord" for his own gratification, has lodged an appeal notice arguing the nine-year jail sentence imposed for his final of three lots of convictions was too long after taking into account a sentence he was already serving and was crushing after taking into account his age on release.

The appeal bid outraged victims, who said the legal challenge demonstrated McKenna's complete lack of remorse for the abuse he had inflicted.

"He is still in denial," Todd Jefferis, who was molested by McKenna many times between 1989 and 1990, said.

"That guy has got absolutely no right to ever walk the streets . . . why would the community want a monster like that walking the streets?"

Former boarder Mike Hilder described McKenna as manipulative and conniving.

The 69-year-old was sentenced in February last year to nine years jail for 34 sex offences committed between 1976 and 1988.

Judge Kevin Sleight ordered the sentence be served on top of a six-year and four-month jail term imposed in 2011 for 10 offences committed against six boys.

Judge Sleight also took into account a six-year and nine-month jail term imposed in 1991 for the sexual abuse of five boarders.

He said in total, the 69-year-old had been sentenced to 22 years jail for 63 offences against 28 boys at the State-run boarding facility.

As a result of the final sentence, McKenna will have served 13 years when he becomes eligible for parole in November 2024.

In draft grounds lodged in the Court of Appeal, McKenna's lawyer Simon Watters argued the nine-year jail term did not reflect the overall criminality involved in the offences and the circumstances, in particular the sentence already being served by McKenna.

McKenna will also argue the sentence is crushing.

He will need to be granted an extension of time for the appeal, which should have been filed more than a year ago.

The West Australian

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