Thursday, June 18, 2009

Australia appeals sentence in honeymoon death

Posted: 18 June 2009 1600 hrs

The Great Barrier Reef

SYDNEY: An Australian state launched an appeal against an American man's "manifestly inadequate" 12-month jail term for the manslaughter of his wife during a honeymoon diving trip.

Bubble-wrap salesman David "Gabe" Watson was sentenced to four-and-a-half years on June 5 but under a plea bargain most of the term was suspended, a decision that caused outrage among friends and relatives of his late wife.

"I have formed the view that this sentence is manifestly inadequate and the state will therefore lodge an appeal against the sentence in the Queensland Court of Appeal," said Queensland Attorney-General Cameron Dick.

Dick added that his decision was made after "careful consideration and due deliberation." Queensland's Solicitor-General Walter Sofronoff will represent the state in the Court of Appeal.

Watson, 32, was on honeymoon with his new wife Tina when she drowned during a diving trip at a shipwreck off the Queensland city of Townsville, just 11 days after their wedding in the United States.

An instructor found novice diver Tina lying on the bottom of the ocean after Gabe, an experienced rescue diver, had surfaced. She never regained consciousness.

An inquest heard earlier that a fellow diver saw Gabe Watson bear-hugging his wife underwater before he re-surfaced while she sank to the ocean floor.

In mid-2008, coroner David Glasgow found it was likely Watson killed his wife by holding her underwater and turning off her air supply, adding he may have been seeking a large life insurance payout.

"Let's hope justice will now be served," said opposition justice spokesman Lawrence Springborg.

"The handling of this sad case has been absolutely deplorable," he added.


From; see the source article here.

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