Accused murderer?s bail appeal rejected



THE 21-year-old woman charged with the murder of her partner at Wooli on Friday night had strong grounds to be released on bail, the Grafton Local Court was told yesterday.

Aboriginal Legal Aid solicitor Dominic Brunello said Magistrate Kim Pogson should consider giving accused murderer Sandra Dorothy Cavanough bail, despite a legal presumption against bail for people charged with murder.

Wearing a black t-shirt, dark track pants with pin stripes and her long dark hair tied back, Cavanough showed no emotion during her brief court appearance.

Mr Brunello said that at this stage the case against Cavanough was circumstantial as it relied on the evidence of three witnesses and the location of the knife alleged to have been used to stab the 34-year-old victim.

He said it could be up to eight weeks before some of the forensic evidence was tested and available to the court.

"She has a one-year-old child, an infant son," he said.

"The charge is complex. A jury would be asked to infer a reckless intent."

"There is a strong case in favour of bail.

"She is 21 and was born and raised by her mother, who is in the court."

Mr Brunello said that until moving to Wooli, Cavanough had lived all her life at Box Ridge, near Coraki. She was educated to Year 8 level and was illiterate.

He said her mother, uncle and extensive family had all come from Coraki to support her.

"Her mother is 39 and has no criminal history," he said.

He said her great uncle was prepared to submit $5000 as surety if bail was granted.

"It would provide a strong incentive to attend court," he said.

He said she had convictions for three minor matters between 2000 and 2003, but had no history of violent offences.

He outlined a number of possible bail conditions that he described as strict and onerous.

"She is very aware of them and is ready to comply with them," he said.

But Mr Pogson said he would not grant bail.

"It would appear there is a very strong case (against her)," he said. "I don't accept there are sufficient grounds (to grant bail)."

Prosecutor Sergeant Peter Costin-Neilsen said there were more witness statements to be obtained and that the defence team had evidence to work on.

"There are statements available," he said.

Mr Pogson ordered that a brief of evidence be served by April 3, and adjourned the case until then.

The name of the 34-year-old Wollongbar victim had not been released late yesterday.



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