Court rejects killer's appeal
QUEENSLAND’S Court of Appeal has rejected an application by churchyard killer Richard John Meerdink to appeal his 10-year prison sentence.
Meerdink was sentenced after he and co-accused Jason Andrew Pearce were found guilty of the July 2008 manslaughter of Wayne Ruks.
Mr Ruks was bashed in the grounds of St Mary’s Catholic Church in Maryborough and died of internal bleeding before being found by a parishioner attending an early morning service on July 4.
Meerdink claimed the time he would spend in custody was “manifestly excessive” compared with Pearce, who was sentenced to nine years jail and will be eligible to apply for parole in July 2012.
Meerdink’s 10-year sentence classifies him as a serious violent offender who will have to serve at least 80 per cent of his sentence behind bars.
But Justice Margaret White said the sentencing Judge weighed up the relevant factors.
“There were significant differences between the relative criminality of each of the co-offenders,” Justice White said.
“The applicant is likely to have a sense of grievance but it is not objectively justifiable and there is no appearance that justice has not been done.”
Justice Margaret McMurdo and Justice Stanley Jones supported the decision to refuse the appeal.
Mr Ruks’s mother, Joyce Kujala, welcomed the Court of Appeal’s decision yesterday.
“It’s about time a little bit of justice actually prevailed,” she said.
“Meerdink was already on parole and he knew the consequence of breaking that parole.
“When Pearce tackled Wayne to the ground, Meerdink could have stopped it. He should have stopped it.
“He has to take responsibility for what he did. He took a man’s life.”