06-19-08, 11:50 PM #1
Estranged wife jailed for 'monstrous act'Estranged wife jailed for 'monstrous act'
Posted 1 hour 35 minutes ago
Updated 54 minutes ago
A New South Wales Supreme Court judge has described the manslaughter of a quadriplegic man as a "monstrous act", sentencing his wife to a minimum five-and-a-half years' jail.
Stephen Chin broke his neck in 1999 when he fell during a sex act, leaving him a quadriplegic.
He died in a fire at his Daceyville home in Sydney's east in 2006.
His estranged wife, Grace Soon, admitted to throwing petrol through his bedroom window and setting the house alight.
Sydney's Supreme Court heard Soon was motivated by fears she would have to share some of her property assets with Mr Chin in an impending divorce settlement.
The prosecution accepted Soon's plea of manslaughter because she was impaired by an abnormality of the mind.
But Justice Michael Grove said he was satisfied Soon had been aware of her actions and knew that her quadriplegic victim would be unable to save himself.
Justice Grove considered evidence that Mr Chin had a relationship with a transvestite and gave Soon a sexually transmitted disease during their marriage, but ruled that his conduct did not constitute provocation.
In sentencing, he considered Soon's age and her early guilty plea.
She will be eligible for parole in 2012, taking in to account time already served
viewed 20/06/08 at 14:19
This women threw petrol around the house and then left her husband to burn to death because he had an affair and was going to devorce her?
and she tried to plead provercation?
she only got 5 years?
Im just shocked by this actually, from this artical (rather than the news report i herd on the way home) it seems this was the fault of the prosecution rather than the judge but really 5 years for a murder like this? (i dont really care if she did plead guilty to manslaughter, this should have been murder)
06-19-08, 11:54 PM #2
So she burnt a man alive and is getting five years?
That is absurd.
06-19-08, 11:57 PM #3
06-20-08, 12:03 AM #4
Prosecutors are often forced to accept the deal. Others just want a guilty verdict. For most, all they care about is getting the guilty verdict. And they will do whatever they can to get it, even if it means a murderer only getting 5.5 years. That is the reality for prosecutors now. You are either ordered to take the plea bargain or you want that guilty verdict because it looks good for the department and on your resume.
And my family wonders why I now refuse to go back to my job.
06-20-08, 12:05 AM #5
You're a prosecutor?
06-20-08, 12:10 AM #6
i have to say after seeing some of the cases in queensland i can understand why you wouldnt want to
06-20-08, 12:13 AM #7
It's not the only one of its kind. Again, the guilty verdict is paramount, no matter how unpalatable the deal might be. That's the sad reality.
06-20-08, 12:16 AM #8
bells on a side issue, what in your opinion would it take to fix the DPP's office and legal aid?
06-20-08, 12:21 AM #9
adition to above post:
I mean i was lissioning to a review of the queensland legal system where they were saying that the conviction rate was way to high (ie worried the inocent are pleading guilty) and that a standed case in the magistrates courts of remote area's is around 6 miniutes.
Now im not sure if that second bit is a cause of concern because i know my own case for driving unregisted was about that short but i only have that one case (and it was a minor trafic offence after all) to go on
06-20-08, 12:42 AM #10
Where would one even start? It would require a change or alteration of the actual mindset that exists in the DPP. They taught me one thing. There is no such thing as justice. All that is cared about is getting a guilty verdict. Personally, I think they should get rid of plea bargaining altogether.
As for legal aid.. refer to above. They are mostly concerned in ensuring the trial is short, if it gets to that stage. Hence why plea bargains are so popular. With their case load, I can't really be surprised. And sometimes, an accused who might just be innocent may end up feeling pressured into taking the plea and having a shorter sentence.
As I said, it would require a complete alteration of the mindset that persists in the system. Solicitors and Barristers need to start thinking about what is right instead of only what looks good on their resume. It won't change though.
06-20-08, 12:50 AM #11
ok here is a tough question for you
In your opinion, does the fault lie with culture (ie the public servents themselves) or with the goverment (ie chronic underfunding ect)
What i mean is if the goverment had an unlimited buget and could throw all the money they wanted (a VERY unlikly thing given the state of the health system in queensland especially) at the justice system (all three, the courts, the DPP and legal aid) would this fix the problem or is it a case that alot of senior people in these departments need to be fired in order to get some people in there who actually CARE about the guilt or inocents of the accused?
Its interesting because i was lissioning to an artical on the radio in adelaide (and i belive they were talking about SA specifically so i dont know if this goes for the whole country) which said that legal aid employes some of the best lawyers in the country and its a case load problem rather than the people involved
06-20-08, 01:05 AM #12
Will plying money into the system work? No. It is the cultural mindset within the system that needs to change. And it wont. Numbers matter as far as the DPP is concerned. You can dismiss the whole system and try to find people who care. But at the end of the day, it is the figures that speak for themselves. Let me put it to you this way. If you work for the DPP, you are more likely to get a promotion if you have the numbers to back you up.. numbers in this instance being guilty verdicts. And society as a whole wants this as well. People want to read the newspapers or watch the news and see that their tax dollars are being spent putting the bad people away. As I said, it is the culture of the system (and that of society as well) that needs to change.
06-20-08, 01:14 AM #13
how sad, i knew there were problems in both offices (you dont have a DPP at war with a goverment if everything is hunky dory) but i had thought it was to do with how tight the buget is (i read the generational health review which said that in less than 10 years the whole state buget will need to be put into the health system just to keep it going so its no wonder the other departments are streched) but i never thought that the culture was as bad as L&O potrais the US system. I have always belived in unelected officals in justice for exactly this reason (they dont have the pressure to get convictions simply to get relected) but it seems it doesnt matter. I thought that at least goverments dont get elected based simply on win loss ratios, they have alot of other things working for and against them like health and education that in the main the public are much more concerned about.
Maybe we should start a pertition for national laws banning plee bargining.
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