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Successful appeal for killers sentence


By Jessica Howard

The reduced jail sentence handed to the convicted killer of Springbank war veteran Ken Handford will be appealed in Victoria’s Supreme Court of Appeal.

Jonathon Jeffery Cooper was sentenced to a maximum 16 years’ imprisonment, with a non-parole period of 13 years, for murdering the decorated war veteran on the eve of his 90th birthday.

Mr Handford was woken by two intruders on September 15 2015, and beaten, bound and stabbed 13 times in the back.

Ken Handford

Justice Jane Dixon said she would have sentenced Cooper to a minimum of 25-years in jail if not for his guilty plea and offer to testify against a co-accused.

With time already served, he could walk free in just 11-years – a sentence Mr Handford’s granddaughter, Leah said was “grossly inadequate”.

A petition, calling on the Director of Public Prosecutions, John Champion to lodge an appeal against the sentence, was created by Leah and her family on Monday May 8.

In just over a week, it had received more than 30,000 signatures.

Mr Champion has since appealed the sentence to the Court of Appeal on grounds that the sentence imposed for each of the charges, and the order for cumulation, was “manifestly inadequate”.

The Office of Public Prosecutions released a statement on Friday (May 19), however did comment further.

Ms Handford said she hoped to see her grandfather’s killer jailed for the maximum of 27-years.

The Handford family’s powerful petition also called on Victorian Attorney General, Martin Pakula to make significant changes to the current sentencing practises.

“We are insisting that the Attorney General and all those with the power to do so; reform current sentencing practises to come into line with community expectations,” the petition read.

Mr Pakula said new legislation was introduced in Parliament on Wednesday (March 24),

aimed at increasing the sentences for 12 of the most serious crimes, including murder.

He said the Sentencing Amendment (Sentencing Standards) Bill 2017 will make sure serious offenders are held accountable for their actions and punished for their crimes.

“Our reforms will mean that sentences will be more consistent and higher than the current average sentences for some of the most serious crimes”.

Mr Pakula would not comment on the sentence imposed on Mr Handford’s killer, as the matter is still before the courts.

A date for the appeal has not yet been set.

A standard sentence will apply to the following crimes:

Standard Maximum
Murder of an emergency worker or custodial officer 30 years Life
Murder 25 years Life
Trafficking large commercial quantity drug of dependence 16 years Life
Culpable driving causing death 8 years 20 years
Rape 10 years 25 years
Persistent sexual abuse of a child under 16 10 years 25 years
Sexual penetration of a lineal descendant under 18 10 years 25 years
Sexual penetration of a step-child under 18 10 years 25 years
Sexual penetration with a child under 12 10 years 25 years
Sexual penetration with a child under 16 6 years 15 years
Sexual assault of a child under 16 4 years 10 years
Sexual activity in the presence of child under 16 4 years 10 years
Causing a child under 16 to be present during sexual activity 4 years

10 years