THE Queensland Attorney-General will meet with the Director of Public Prosecutions next week to seek advice on whether he should request to extend the non-parole period of 20 years handed down to Daniel Morcombe’s convicted killer.
Justice Roslyn Atkinson sentenced Brett Peter Cowan, 44, to life in prison on Friday for abducting and murdering the 13-year-old teenager on the Sunshine Coast in December 2003.
The serial sex offender was also sentenced to three-and-a-half years for indecently treating Daniel and an additional two years for interfering with his corpse, which will be served concurrently with the life sentence.
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Justice Atkinson set a non-parole period of 20 years but at the same time warned future parole authorities Cowan was beyond rehabilitation and insisted he not be released.
“In view of your criminal history and the enormity of the crimes that you have committed, it is appropriate in my view to set a parole eligibility date after you have served 20 years of your sentence, but let me make it clear that does not mean that I am of the view that you should be released in 20 years time. That is not under my control. That’s a matter for the parole authorities,” she said.
Queensland Attorney-General Jarrod Bleijie has told media he is reviewing the sentence and had already spoken with the Director of Public Prosecutions about seeking advice.
“I have spoken to the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) about seeking advice,” he said.
“I’ll be meeting with the Director of Public Prosecutions next week and we’ll be formalising, or he will be formalising the advice to me and then based on that advice we’ll then see where we go.”
“I have to be very careful with what I say. Suffice to say that I have been contacted this morning by many members of the community who are concerned with the sentence handed down and that’s why I immediately asked the DPP to look at giving me appropriate advice for the next few days.”
In her sentencing, Justice Atkinson said Cowan was a predator whose crimes had widespread and shocking impacts.
“He (Daniel) didn’t know what your intentions were. When you got him inside, you indecently dealt with him. You attempted to pull down his pants. He was obviously horrified. He resisted and tried to run away. You knew that if he ran away, he would be able to identify you, your car, the place where you’d taken him, your registration number. You knew that if he ran away, you’d be caught, so you killed him. You killed him because you didn’t want to get caught. You killed him intending to kill him,” Justice Atkinson said to Cowan.
“You put his body in the back of your car. You drove to the old sandmining site. You threw his body down the embankment and then dragged him to an even more isolated area. You took his clothing off in case there was any evidence of your existence on that clothing and because his clothing was bright and might attract attention. You covered him with branches and left him,” she said.
“When you returned a week later, his body was for the most part gone, no doubt disturbed and torn apart by wild animals. Everything about what you did to that child is horrific and disgraceful. You threw his clothing into a fast-running creek, again to avoid its being found.
“This is not just a murder, but a terrible murder. It has had widespread and shocking impacts, of course and primarily, on his family, his parents and, of course, his two brothers, particularly his twin brother, but you gave no thought to them and it’s not apparent to me that you’ve ever given any thought to that or to them.
“I’ve seen no evidence in the months that you’ve been in this court and in the times where I’ve heard you talk about this offence that you ever felt any remorse for what you did.”