A man found guilty of murder in Queanbeyan has failed in his attempt to appeal the jury’s verdict, with a higher court finding that his anger and the violence of the attack left “no doubt” that he at least intended to seriously injure his victim.
Delaney thought his victim had stolen his money and blamed him for the break-up with his girlfriend when he tracked him down to the underside of the Queanbeyan Bridge on Boxing Day 2019 and shouted, “I’m going to kill you”.
He repeatedly assaulted Mr Baxter before leaving. His victim fell down, was taken to hospital and died. An autopsy found his cause of death was a ruptured spleen.
Delaney launched an appeal in an attempt to quash his conviction, arguing the jury’s verdict was unreasonable and unsafe in a hearing that took place earlier this month.
The issues on appeal were whether the jury must have entertained a doubt that a blow by Delaney caused Mr Baxter’s death, as well as if he intended either to kill his victim or cause him grievous bodily harm.
Delaney argued there were “discrepancies” in the evidence on causation as well as alternative explanations for the ruptured spleen.
He also argued that he had no intention to kill because if he was going to kill, he wouldn’t have walked away after the assault and left Mr Baxter under the bridge.
The NSW Court of Appeal’s Justices Anthony Payne SC and Kristina Stern SC and Judge Dina Yehia SC said the question was whether the jury must – as distinct from might – have entertained a doubt about Delaney’s guilt.
Ultimately, the court decided the jury was entitled to find beyond reasonable doubt that a knee blow to Mr Baxter’s abdomen caused his spleen to rupture.
“The court was left with no doubt that one or more of the applicant’s knee blows connected with the deceased’s abdomen,” their decision from Monday (24 July) said.
“On all the evidence, the deceased was relatively coherent before the attack but became rapidly incapacitated after it.”
The court also found the jury was entitled to reject Delaney’s denials of an intention to cause grievous bodily harm.
When Delaney had been interviewed, they said he had made “self-serving statements inconsistent with electronic messages he sent around the time of the attack”.
“The applicant’s messages and posts, his anger, threats he made during and immediately after the attack and the violence of the attack itself left the court with no doubt that the applicant intended at least to cause grievous bodily harm,” the court said.
The appeal was dismissed.
Delaney must serve a non-parole period of 12 years’ jail, which means he is eligible to be released from 26 December 2031.