State prosecutors are appealing in a bid to have a tougher prison term imposed against a 21-year-old man who was sentenced to three years jail after committing a "cowardly" and "brutal" attack on a great-grandfather and then bragging about his drug-fuelled violence on Facebook.
The sentence handed to Robert Geoff Collard by District Court Judge Anthony Derrick last month sparked criticism that the penalty for the vicious bashing of 74-year-old Wally was inadequate and sent the wrong message about the need to protect the vulnerable.
A spokeswoman for Director of Public Prosecutions Joe McGrath, who promised to review the case immediately after the sentence was handed down, confirmed today that State had lodged an appeal against the sentence late yesterday.
Wally’s wife Janet said the couple, who do not want to be identified by their surname, were “really pleased” by the DPP decision to appeal against the sentence.
Janet and her husband, who had been informed about the appeal yesterday, believed the sentence was inadequate and had been overwhelmed by community support after the case.
“When we walked out of that court it was terrible to think that this man could be out a year in December when he could have killed Wally,” she said.
“We believe because of the newspaper stories and because of the politicians, it has made people in the same situation aware that they can make an appeal against what is happening, that we do have rights.
“We feel really good for the simple reason that it shows everybody that they can have confidence in the justice system.”
Collard was sentenced late last month after pleading guilty in May to aggravated grievous bodily harm. The maximum penalty for the charge is 14 years jail.
Wally had been trying to find the owner of a lost dog when he was confronted by Collard, who was with a group of five juveniles. Collard pulled a baseball bat from under his jumper and repeatedly hit Wally on the head, back, ribs and legs.
Just hours later, Collard boasted about the bashing on Facebook.
Judge Derrick took into account Collard’s age and early plea of guilty.