Cowan to stay in jail for “wickedly antisocial behaviour”

WHEN Brett Peter Cowan killed Daniel Morcombe, the minimum time behind bars on a life sentence was 15 years.

Justice Roslyn Atkinson increased the non-parole period to 20 years, which is what the minimum period has been since law changes in 2012.

But she made it clear that the parole board should be aware of Cowan's propensity to lie to achieve his own ends and that the parole period did not mean he would be released after that time.

The Attorney-General argued that sentence was manifestly inadequate and plainly unreasonable - that Cowan was a "recidivist, dangerous sex offender" who should be adequately punished for his "evil offending".

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Cowan's lawyers had argued he killed Daniel in a struggle, not to avoid detection, which made it more akin to a felony murder than a murder with intent.

Justice McMurdo said the sentencing judge had taken all the relevant considerations into account and there was no error in law to allow the appeal court to intervene.

"There is no doubt (Cowan's) offending deserved a heavy penalty to reflect pertinent sentencing principles of general and personal deterrence, protection of the community and denunciation of such wickedly antisocial behaviour," she said.

" Few crimes are more serious than luring a child or young person from a public place, sexually abusing and murdering them and then interfering with their body so that the grieving family is left in a state of uncertainty for years.

"(Cowan's) criminality was aggravated by his chillingly similar past offending, his complete lack of remorse and insight into his actions and his poor prospects of rehabilitation.

"His crimes have had a life-shattering impact on Daniel's parents and brothers.

"With great courage, strength and dignity they channelled their grief and anger into a gritty determination to find out what happened to Daniel and to ensure justice was done.

"They inspired the police investigating the crimes, and the wider community, locally, across the state, and nationally."

But she said there was no sentencing error and noted there was no previous instance in Queensland where the parole eligibility date for a single murder was postponed beyond 20 years.

Topics:  brett peter cowan crime daniel morcombe sunshine coast

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