8 July 2021

'Manifestly inadequate' sentence of Frankie Prineas's vicious killer to be appealed

| Albert McKnight
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Frankie Prineas

Frankie Prineas has been described as a man with a “cheeky smile” who would “light up the room”. Photo: Supplied.

The news Frankie Prineas’s brutal killer could walk from jail after just 10 years caused outrage in the community and heartbreak for the family of his 27-year-old victim.

But the jail sentence for murderer Jayscen Anthony Newby will be appealed after the Office for the Director of Public Prosecutions described it as “manifestly inadequate”.

The unarmed Frankie was left with 37 injuries after Newby attacked him with a knife on 11 January 2020 in the Belconnen bedroom of a woman Newby used to have a romantic interest in.

At his ACT Supreme Court sentencing in June, Chief Justice Helen Murrell said Newby’s claim the woman had provoked him into committing the murder was “outrageous”.

She also said he had not given “any substantial indication of remorse”.

READ MORE Stabbing murder sentence needs to be reviewed

In fact, in January 2020, Newby had laughed when his mother told him details about the murder when they were reported by the ABC.

“Why are you laughing?” his shocked mother had asked over the phone.

“Because it’s hilarious,” Newby replied.

Justice Murrell jailed the 27-year-old for 20 years and imposed a 10-year non-parole period, which meant he could be released as early as January 2030.

Jayscen Anthony Newby

Jayscen Anthony Newby pleaded guilty to murder. Photo: Newby/Instagram.

But ACT Director of Public Prosecutions Shane Drumgold SC recently signed a notice of appeal against the sentence, with one ground for appeal being that it was “manifestly inadequate”.

The appeal argues Justice Murrell failed to apply the principle that the non-parole period is the minimum period of imprisonment that justice requires to be served.

A third ground for appeal is that she also failed to consider part of the Crimes (Sentencing) Act 2005 under a section that addresses reducing a sentence due to a guilty plea.

This part states a court must not make any significant reduction for a guilty plea if the prosecution’s case was considered “overwhelmingly strong”.

READ ALSO “This is hell for us”: Frankie Prineas’ murderer can walk free after 10 years in jail

The appeal will seek for Newby’s sentence to be set aside and a new sentence imposed.

It will first appear in the ACT Supreme Court for directions on 15 July.

After Newby’s sentencing in June, Frankie’s father, Victor Prineas, told journalists he was completely shocked at the outcome.

Frankie Prineas's father Victor and other family members

Frankie Prineas’s father Victor and other family members speak outside the ACT Courts in June after Newby’s sentencing. Photo: Albert McKnight

“We knew we weren’t going to get justice. We knew it wasn’t going to be great, but we didn’t expect it to be so bad,” he said.

“He’s lost 10 years of his life. My son has lost 60 years of his life. I can’t understand it. I can’t work it out.”

Mr Prineas described the evidence against Newby as harrowing, disturbing and heartbreaking.

READ ALSO Family describes pain of losing their beloved Frankie at the hands of a ‘coward’

“Everything was horrific. The whole thing was absolutely horrific. And this is the outcome we got – 10 years,” he said.

He described his son as a “jewel in a crown” and a beautiful child. He said Frankie was cheeky, loveable, respectful, loved by all and “one in a billion”.

“He was a special kid. He was special for us,” he said.

“He’s in our hearts, in our minds, every minute of every day.”

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Nice to hear. Was afraid the part of the DPP that looked into possible appeals was an empty office; with a answering machine “your call is valuable to us. You are caller 9001 in the queue”.

Canberra used to be the place to get sentences for murder, all sentences were less than the Australian average. This manifestly inadequate sentence seems to do just that.

I’m so glad that the DPP are appealing this. Judge Murrell has been one of the most lenient Justices in her short tenure in the ACT and I’m surprised that the DPP haven’t appealed some of her other sentences.

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