Elliotts upset by new appeal bid

Convicted murderer Clayton Weatherston is seeking leave to appeal to the Supreme Court against his conviction, leaving the family of his victim asking just when their ordeal will end.

Weatherston was found guilty of murdering Sophie Elliott (22) in her Dunedin home on January 9, 2008.

Her father, Gil Elliott, told the Otago Daily Times he was not surprised by the move.

"I know the guy, I know the sort of person he is. The law allows him to do this. In his own warped mind, he doesn't think that it is his fault. He thinks it is Sophie's fault and she drove him to it."

Weatherston, a former University of Otago economics tutor, was sentenced to life imprisonment, with a minimum non-parole period of 18 years. He appealed his conviction in April.

That appeal was dismissed by the Court of Appeal in June.

Following that appeal, Mr Elliott feared Weatherston would turn to the Supreme Court, and was not surprised when told Weatherston was seeking leave to appeal.

Mr Elliott said as an "ordinary taxpayer" he objected to Weatherston lodging another appeal.

"His grounds were comprehensively shown by the Court of Appeal to have no basis, and it was a very comprehensive and full report."

He understood Weatherston's appeal would involve similar grounds to his earlier appeal, and he was using the same lawyer, Robert Lithgow QC.

Mr Lithgow, who did not return calls yesterday, argued seven points in that appeal, including Weatherston did not receive a fair trial due to the public debate over the defence of provocation.

The Ministry of Justice confirmed Weatherston applied on July 15 for leave to appeal against his conviction.

"He has 20 working days from that date to file written submissions in support of his application.

"The Crown then has 15 working days to file submissions in response. At that stage, the Supreme Court will then consider the application for leave to appeal," a spokeswoman said.

Mr Elliott said there was too much leeway for prisoners.

"They should not have a number of rights that they have available to them. After all, victims have few rights," he said.

"This is just going on and on and on. The family thinks this is unnecessary. He has had a fair go and he should give it away now and accept the fact he did it and is as guilty as sin, and that he was not provoked ... "

"He ought to accept these things, but he is that sort of person that he won't."

Mr Elliott planned to express his frustrations with the system in a letter to Justice Minister Simon Power.

Sensible Sentencing Trust spokesman Garth McVicar said Weatherston's latest appeal bid was absurd and "one of the most frivolous we have ever seen".

Information released to the ODT shows legal aid paid to date to Weatherston totals $269,686, and includes legal aid for his initial trial ($225,049) and appeal ($44,637).



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