Narcissistic shooter's jail term appeal dismissed
AFTER SHOOTING his former wife in the face in front of their kids, he argued his jail term was unfair.
But Queensland Court of Appeal has now rejected former Rockhampton businessman John Jesse Stephens's appeal against his 15-year jail sentence.
In his appeal this month, Stephens, 46, argued a sentencing judge earlier this year did not properly recognise his cocktail of mental health and addiction issues that included narcissistic personality disorder.
But the state's highest court was not persuaded mental illness influenced Stephens when he carried out the August 2014 shooting in the Westfield Helensvale car park.
"No expert opinion suggested that his psychiatric illness played any part in the actions which constituted the offences,” Justice James Douglas wrote in a judgment published on Monday.
"It would be remarkable if there were such opinion, given the high degree of organisation involved in his conduct.”
Justice Douglas said the calculated shooting was a "horrific” crime with devastating consequences for Stephens's former wife and the children who witnessed the attack.
"It can only have been chance that the complainant survived the attack. She continues to suffer severely from the consequences.”
Chief Justice Catherine Holmes and Justice Robert Gotterson were also not convinced Stephens's mental health, alcohol and drug abuse issues absolved him of moral culpability for the shooting.
Stephens's barrister Alastair McDougall told the appeal court his client had suffered from bipolar affective disorder, adjustment disorder and bouts of depression and hypomania.
Stephens, who had also abused alcohol, amphetamines and marijuana, was convicted of attempted murder on March 10 this year.
A day before, he pleaded guilty in Queensland Supreme Court to an alternative charge of unlawfully doing grievous bodily harm. But prosecutors did not accept that alternative charge plea.
Stephens must serve at least 12 years in custody,
His terrified former wife earlier this year said the jail term was not long enough, and she was planning to leave the country.
She received life-threatening injuries, had a metal plate put in her head and could no longer drive.
- For 24-hour support in Queensland phone DVConnect on 1800 811 811, MensLine on 1800 600 636 or the national hotline 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732.