Missing woman Carlie Sinclair (inset) and her partner Danny Deacon, pictured speaking at a press conference soon after her disappearance. (Supplied)
Convicted murderer Danny Deacon has had his appeal over a life sentence dismissed at the Northern Territory Court of Criminal Appeal.
- Danny Deacon was sentenced to life in prison with a non-parole period of 21 years and six months in 2016
- The court heard that Deacon had dug his partner’s grave 20 days before her death
- Deacon’s appeal was related to the undercover police operation that his lawyers argued should never have been shown to the jury
In 2016, Deacon was found guilty of murdering his partner Carlie Sinclair and burying her body in scrub in Berry Springs.
He was sentenced to life in prison with a 21-and-a-half-year non-parole period.
Deacon had repeatedly confessed to undercover police that he killed Ms Sinclair and buried her in an unmarked grave in dense scrub in June 2013.
Deacon and Carlie Sinclair’s son was just two years old at the time of her death.
Decisions relating to two separate appeals were handed down today. Both were dismissed.
Deacon’s appeal related to the circumstances of the undercover police operation, which his legal team, Jon Tippett QC and Peter Maley, argued should never have been shown to the jury.
Deacon’s lawyer, Peter Maley, outside the Northern Territory Supreme Court after the appeal decision was handed down. (ABC News: Ian Redfearn)
The second appeal was brought by the Department of Public Prosecutions, who argued for a harsher sentence based on the seriousness of the crime.
Deacon’s appeal panel was made up of Supreme Court judges, Chief Justice Michael Grant and Justice Stephen Southwood, and Justice Trevor Riley.
It took more than two years for the judges to reach a decision.
Undercover police set up a fake criminal operation and established a “bond of misogyny” to gain Deacon’s trust.
Deacon’s lawyers argued that the “Mr Big-style” covert police operation set up to elicit a confession from Deacon constituted “oppressive conduct” by the police and confessions made during this time shouldn’t have gone before the jury.
The judgement detailed how a number of undercover police set up a fictitious criminal group and used a variety of tactics to gain Deacon’s trust, which ultimately led to his confession.
This included providing him cash payments for participating in fake criminal activities and establishing a “common bond of misogyny” and expressing a “lack of moral concern” that Deacon’s partner was missing.
But the judgement found that these operations weren’t considered ‘oppressive conduct’ and that confessions subsequently made to undercover police were admissible in court.
“Not only did the application make a confession, he also led the covert operatives to the site of the deceased’s remains and subsequently gave evidence at trial that he had killed her,” the judgement read.