Court rules Ipswich killer to stay in jail

Convicted killer, Mark Richard Lawrence.
Convicted killer, Mark Richard Lawrence.

AN IPSWICH killer and rapist will stay jailed indefinitely.

Mark Richard Lawrence has been behind bars for more than 30 years after he killed a fellow patient at the Wolston Park Hospital where he was an involuntary patient in December 1983, and raped a fellow prisoner in October 1999.

Last year the Queensland Court of Appeal ruled he was too dangerous to be released into the community - despite mental health experts reporting an improvement in his behaviour.

The court ruled the psychiatrists and psychologists had reservations in their reports stating Lawrence's perceived improvement was based on his telling them the truth. The court ruled Lawrence was too dangerous to be released and overruled a previous decision to let him out.

Yesterday Lawrence took his case to the High Court stating the Court of Appeal was wrong to overturn the decision because the original judge had enough evidence to believe he was safe to be released.

Lawrence's defence said he had been denied "procedural fairness" and called for the appeal to be quashed and reheard.

However, Justice Patrick Keane said the court's decision had to take into account the mental health experts' reservations.

"In this case the extent of the risk clearly depends …on the reliability of your client as a reporter of his experience," he said.

"The evidence of the psychiatrists was not unequivocal. It was more favourable to your client than in the past, but it was qualified."

Topics:  mark richard lawrence queensland court of appeal

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