Appeal gives mum a sleepless night

THE MOTHER of Maryborough man Wayne Ruks had a sleepless night on Thursday.

Joyce Kujala has sat through many hours of court hearings after the bashing death of her son in the grounds of St Mary's Catholic Church in 2008.

On Thursday she sat in a Brisbane court and listened as one of her son's killers, Richard John Meerdink, appealed his 10-year sentence.

“The appeal went for about one hour,” Ms Kujala said.

“The decision of the three judges has been reserved. The prosecutor said he would notify me when a decision has been made.”

Meerdink's barrister Carl Heaton argued the 10-year sentence should be reduced but prosecutor Greg Cummings said Supreme Court Judge Peter Applegarth was right to sentence Meerdink to a longer term than co-accused Jason Andrew Pearce, who was sentenced to nine years jail for the crime.

“The defence are hoping to reduce Meerdink's sentence by even just six months to bring him under the 10-year mark,” Ms Kujala said.

Offenders sentenced to 10 years jail or more are classed as serious violent offenders and must serve at least 80 per cent of their sentence in actual custody.

If Meerdink's sentence is reduced he could be eligible to apply for parole within a couple of years.

“There are differences between these two men,” Ms Kujala said.

“One had a history of violence and broke his parole. Meerdink knew he was on parole, yet he administered the first kick.

“The sentences were light in any case and for him to get a lighter sentence would be devastating. These men are a menace to society.

“Wayne was highly intoxicated and would not have stood a chance against these men. He tried to retreat from their company twice, yet he was still attacked and beaten to death.

“They took a man's life, took his future.

“He was my only son. I have to live with that. I really have the life sentence.”

Pearce may be eligible for parole as early as July 2012.

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