Vic jail virus concerns raised in appeal

Karen Sweeney
Albert Tedford was jailed for a violent attack on his then-wife Bridie, stabbing her repeatedly

Prisoners are still shaking hands and hugging in Victoria's jails, a lawyer says, raising concerns for the health of an elderly man jailed for trying to kill his wife.

Albert Tedford, 78, was sentenced to nine years in prison for the violent attack on his then-wife Bridie, stabbing her repeatedly with a kitchen knife.

He doesn't dispute the sentence handed to him for that crime.

But on Thursday he tried to challenge the portion of the sentence for intentionally driving in front of a train after the attack, putting the driver and its passengers at risk.

Tedford's lawyer Catherine Boston said that sentence was excessive given he had pleaded guilty, and a six-month or one-year reduction overall would be significant for the elderly and unwell man.

"Prisoners are still hand-shaking, hugging and in very close contact with each other," she said of concerns around how coronavirus is being managed in Victoria's jails.

"It is a very dire time for this man."

A trio of Victorian Court of Appeal judges accused Ms Boston of cherry picking parts of the sentence she supported and didn't support, and said in running the appeal she risked them increasing the overall sentence.

Justice David Beach described Mr Tedford's crimes as "pretty terrible" and said the portion of the sentence for the attack on his former wife was "very lenient".

In a unanimous judgment they found the sentence handed to Tedford for driving in front of the train, in what was said to be a suicide attempt, was not excessive.

"Those who selfishly disregard the risks they impose upon others to satisfy their own suicidal ends can expect to pay a substantial price if those ends are not achieved," they said.

"(Tedford) knew what he was doing, and made a deliberate decision to use a speeding train as a means of ending his life, regardless of the wider consequences."

Tedford suffered minor injuries when the train, leaving the station, hit his car and pushed it along the tracks.

He'll be eligible for parole after serving six years behind bars.

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