'Damaging jail experience' for man guilty of manslaughter

A BALLINA man who has pleaded guilty to manslaughter over the death of a man outside a Casino pub will be sentenced later this week.

Paul Ian Lane, 58 - who remains on bail - appeared in the dock of the Supreme Court in Lismore on Monday morning.

The charge stemmed from an assault outside a Casino pub on September 16, 2012 which resulted in the death of Peter Morris, 52, in a Southport hospital eight days later.

Lane was originally tried in 2014 and found not guilty of murder, but guilty of the alternate charge of manslaughter.

In June this year, he appealed this verdict and the High Court quashed his conviction.

A retrial was set to begin in October, but Lane then pleaded guilty.

Lane's barrister Ertunc Ozen SC said his client had a "very damaging jail experience" during that time, which involved a "greater punishment than otherwise this (time) would represent".

Mr Ozen did not go into more detail about the nature of his client's experience in custody, but tendered further written submissions.

He said the fact Lane offered to plead guilty to manslaughter before his original murder trial, and that he was caring for his mother, who has dementia, should be taken into account in sentencing.

Mr Ozen acknowledged it was a "very serious offence" and said alcohol had played a part.

"If there had been less alcohol in the mix, none of us would be here today," he said.

Crown prosecutor Brendan Campbell agreed the consumption of alcohol had been a contributing factor in the incident.

The court heard Lane had spent four years, nine months and 14 days in custody before his release and Mr Campbell said he would have one year, six months and 14 days remaining, based on the original sentence.

"This is an objectively serious offence," Mr Campbell said.

"This was an offence of violence on a public street after closing hours of the hotel.

"Mr Morris had disengaged, he'd tried to run away and was in a vulnerable position because he'd just fell and hit his head."

Justice Robert Hulme is expected to hand down his sentence on Wednesday.



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