Aged care double murderer Garry Steven Davis set to appeal convictions

Thursday, 10th August, 2017

TRAGIC: (L-R) Victims Ryan Kelly, 80, Audrey Manuel, 91, and Gwen Fowler, 83. Garry Steven Davis (top right) was convicted of two counts of murder and one of attempted murder in relation to the SummitCare, Wallsend, residents.

HE has always professed his innocence and showed no emotion when he was found guilty and then sentenced to a maximum of 40 years in jail.

And now aged care double murderer Garry Steven Davis has launched an appeal against his convictions, labeling the guilty verdicts “unreasonable and not supported by the evidence” and claiming Supreme Court Justice Robert Allan Hulme erred when accepting that a single perpetrator injected three elderly, non-diabetic SummitCare Wallsend residents with insulin over two days in October, 2013.

Davis, 30, was jailed for a maximum of 40 years with a non-parole of 30 years in December last year after he was found guilty of the murder of Gwen Fowler, 83, and Ryan Kelly, 80, and the attempted murder of Audrey Manuel, 91, after a four-week judge-alone trial in the Newcastle Supreme Court.

His legal team, led by solicitor Mark Ramsland, have lodged a notice of intention to appeal the conviction to the Court of Criminal Appeal, obtained Legal Aid NSW funding and enlisted the service of barrister Graham Turnbull, SC. 

The Newcastle Herald understands Davis’s legal team will assert that the verdicts of Justice Hulme are “unreasonable and cannot be supported having regard to the evidence at Mr Davis’s trial”. 

A further ground of appeal relates to Justice Hulme’s decision to allow the use of “coincidence reasoning to assist in establishing an inference that a single perpetrator had administered all three injections”. 

There was no issue during the trial that whoever injected Ms Fowler, Ms Manuel and Mr Kelly did so with the intention to kill them or inflict really serious bodily harm.

The sole issue was whether the prosecution could prove beyond reasonable doubt that it was Davis who had performed the injections. The case against Davis, while factually dense after a 14-month investigation by detectives, was purely circumstantial. Nonetheless, Justice Hulme returned guilty verdicts on all three counts. One particular damning piece of evidence was a series of text messages between Davis and other staff members at SummitCare Wallsend where Davis accurately predicted which residents were going to die next. 

“His Honour gave considerable weight to the text message interchanges while downplaying the evidence of a number of witnesses at the trial to the effect that such interactions were utterly routine in the industry in which Mr Davis worked and ignoring the fundamental implausibility of a person with murderous intent displaying it in a manner so likely to draw attention,” Davis’ legal team’s submissions read. 

A date to hear the appeal has not yet been set. 

Newcastle Herald

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