QUEENSLAND'S highest court has discounted the life sentence for a Sunshine Coast man because he stopped his wife from killing a 13-year-old girl they had sadistically attacked.
The man, 41, successfully argued in the Court of Appeal that the life sentence meant there was no incentive to stop his wife using a rope to murder the girl after they had finished "unimaginable horrors".
He now has an 18-year jail term instead of life but the Court of Appeal refused to reduce his wife's life sentence.
The man and woman, 33, lured the girl to their Bellthorpe home by sending a text, pretending to be the woman's daughter, to come for a sleepover.
They spent a "harrowing" 14 to 15 hours raping, torturing and degrading the crying, terrified girl while photographing and filming their actions.
They both injected speed on the morning of offending in April, 2010, and stupefied the girl using various substances.
Justice Robert Gotterson, in a written judgement, said there was a good utilitarian purpose in encouraging a co-offender, who was minded to intervene, rather than refrain because they believed there was no personal gain in doing so.
"To my mind, an intervention of that kind has a societal dimension to it which warrants recognition in sentencing," he said.
"Not to recognise it meaningfully risks giving rise to a popular belief at least, that there is no incentive given for intervention to prevent a death at the hands of a co-offender."
Justice Gotterson said he, nor two other Court of Appeal judges, were not persuaded the sentencing judge had erred in relation to the woman's life sentence.
He said her lawyers had argued the judge put too much emphasis on the strong prosecution case.
But Justice Gotterson said the timely complaint resulted in strong medical evidence, as well as photographic and film evidence, which meant savings to the court and judicial system were lessened.
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