Man who set girlfriend alight ‘should be acquitted’
A QUEENSLAND man who set his teenage girlfriend on fire and left her with permanent scarring has appealed his conviction and 11-year sentence for the horrific attack, claiming he never intended to do it.
Brae Taylor Lewis was in 2018 convicted the Beenleigh District Court of a malicious act intended to cause grievous bodily harm after pouring fuel over his then-girlfriend Kyesha Finemore in May 2016.
Ms Finemore has previously consented to her identity being made public, despite the domestic violence offending.
Judge Michael Williamson sentenced a then 19-year-old Lewis to 11 years in jail after Ms Finemore was left with permanent scarring to her arms, chest, abdomen, back and thighs in the attack at Marsden, south of Brisbane.
Lewis has appealed his sentence and conviction to the Queensland Court of Appeal, with lawyers seeking a retrial.
The court today heard Lewis argued the judge had failed to give proper directions to the jury concerning the fact he may not have intended to set Ms Finemore alight.
It was argued there had been a miscarriage of justice, and the verdict was unreasonable because if the jury had reasonable doubt as to Lewis' intent, he should have been acquitted.
Lewis' lawyers also contend the sentence was "manifestly excessive" in circumstances where the man had expressed immediate remorse, his age and had tried to help the woman following the attack.
During the trial, the court was told Lewis left Ms Finemore in the shower after she was severely burned and did not wait for police or emergency services to arrive.
After setting her alight, the court heard the 17-year-old said: "F---, f---, f---, what's happened?"
Lewis then tried to pat out the flames before saying: "I wouldn't have intentionally have done that," and leaving the property.
The Crown argued there was no other hypothesis open to the jury but to convict the man on the basis he had intended to set the woman alight.
Crown prosecutor Caroline Marco told the court despite the fact the woman had suffered burns after the lighter came into contact with petrol fumes, it was "common sense" that if you "douse a person in petrol and set them alight you are likely to cause grievous bodily harm".
Ms Finemore spent two days in an induced coma, with some burns so bad they burnt through her skin, following the attack.
After a month she was released, but has had to endure ongoing treatment for her physical and mental health.
The matter has been adjourned for written submissions and the Court of Appeal will return a decision at a later date.
QUEENSLAND DOMESTIC VIOLENCE SERVICES