Attorney General to appeal sentence given to teen over couple’s death

The Attorney General has confirmed an appeal will be lodged against the sentence given to a teen over the deaths of pregnant Brisbane couple Matthew Field and Kate Leadbetter.

The now 18-year-old was jailed for a minimum of six years after pleading guilty to manslaughter over the couple’s death in Alexandra Hills on Australia Day last year.

Matthew, 37, and Kate, 31, were walking their dogs when they were hit and killed by a stolen vehicle being driven by the then 17-year-old who was out on bail for other offences at the time.


ARTICLE CONTINUES AFTER THIS ADVERTISEMENT


Kate was five months pregnant with the couple’s first child, a son they were going to name Miles.

The sentence given to the teen, who will at this stage be out of prison before his 24h birthday, caused widespread outrage with the State Opposition leading calls for the Attorney General to appeal it.

The petition, which also calls for breach of bail to become an offence in Queensland’s Youth Justice Act, has so far racked up more than 46,000 signatures.

PHOTO: Facebook

After seeking legal advice on the matter, Attorney General Shannon Fentiman called a press conference on Thursday afternoon where she announced she would be pursuing an appeal.

“There is now not much more I can say as the matter is before the court of appeal, but I can confirm the grounds on which the appeal is being made is that the sentence for manslaughter was manifestly inadequate,” Ms Fentiman said.

“Particularly as the judge determined that the offence was a heinous offence, which meant that the sentence could have been more than 10 years under the Youth Justice Act”.

Ms Fentiman said the sentence handed down “does not reflect community standards”.

“I do want to acknowledge what the family and community have been through, the tragic death of Matt and Kate and their unborn child in such horrific circumstances has really been felt far and wide in the Queensland community,” she said.

“I have listened, I have received that advice, and today I have appealed that matter.”

LNP Leader David Crisafulli took to social media a short time ago, thanking the 46,000 Queenslanders who have signed the petition so far.

“This is a win for their families. They have gone through what no-one should ever have to. This is also a win for people power,” he said.

The appeal will be lodged this afternoon, before being heard by the Court of Appeal at a date yet to be determined.