'Not ready' to set date

It was "hard to imagine" a hearing date for Clayton Weatherston's appeal would be set before Christmas, his lawyer said yesterday.

Robert Lithgow QC said nothing much more had happened on the matter since Weatherston notified the appellate court last month that he intended to appeal his September conviction for murdering Dunedin woman Sophie Elliott.

Weatherston argued at his jury trial that he was provoked and would plead guilty to manslaughter.

He was found guilty of murder and sentenced to life in prison with a minimum non-parole period of 18 years.

The Court of Appeal registrar said the court "was not ready" to set a date and it "could be some time" before that happened, meaning the hearing would not happen until well into next year.

A Legal Services Agency spokeswoman said as per agency policy, Weatherston was given a limited legal aid grant to enable his lawyer to prepare a summary of issues detailing the proposed grounds of appeal.

That would enable the agency to decide whether Weatherston met the criteria for a full grant of aid, so no decision had been made on legal aid for the appeal at present.

Asked if he if thought a hearing date would be set before Christmas Mr Lithgow said: "It's hard to imagine."


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