Craig Field loses sentence appeal

CRAIG Field will spend at least the next seven-and-a-half years behind bars after losing an appeal over his sentence for the king-hit manslaughter of Cudgera Creek cattle farmer Kelvin Kane.

Field, a former South Sydney Rabbitohs captain, was initially charged with murder over Mr Kane's death in the rear carpark of the Kingscliff Beach Hotel in July 2012.

The former NRL star claimed he was acting as "the peacemaker" when his friend Shaun Fathers got into an altercation with Mr Kane at the hotel.

In the NSW Supreme Court justice Elizabeth Fullerton sentenced Field to a maximum 10 years' jail with a minimum non-parole period of seven years and six months after he was found to be guilty of manslaughter by a 12 person jury.

Field appealed Justice Fullerton's decision which was heard in the NSW Court of Criminal Appeal in front of a panel of three judges today.

But the NSW Court of Criminal Appeal rejected the appeal, upholding the conviction.

"There was undoubtedly some inconsistencies in and between the witnesses' evidence such as what colour clothing Mr Kane's hitter was observed to be wearing, whether Mr Kane was hit on the left or right side of his head and how Mr Kane fell," the three-judge appeal panel said in their reasons for decision.

"However ... such inconsistencies are to be expected, particularly in a case such as the present where those observing the altercation from beyond the car park encountered issues of distance and lighting, and for all witnesses a rapid unfolding of traumatic events.

"The inconsistencies do not, in my view, give rise to any doubt about whether it was the applicant's punch that the witnesses were describing as they all referred to Mr Kane's immediate collapse."

The appeal judges also rejected Field's argument that the seven-and-a-half year minimum sentence for manslaughter was "manifestly excessive".



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