Aaron Bunch Journalist with Australian Associated Press | Collection of published work | + 61 484 008 119 | abunch@aap.com.au

Aaron Bunch
Qld wife killer uses Pell case at appeal

Convicted wife killer John Chardon has attempted to use the High Court’s recent decision on Cardinal George Pell to overturn his manslaughter conviction.

April 16, 2020

A Queensland millionaire has attempted to use the High Court’s decision on Cardinal George Pell to have his conviction for killing his wife quashed.

John William Chardon, 72, also says his 15-year sentence handed down in September for manslaughter is too harsh.

Novy Chardon, 34, disappeared from the pair’s Gold Coast mansion in 2013 amidĀ a bitter divorce row over the custody of their two children.

Her body has never been found.

Lawyer Tony Glynn QC says the verdict against Chardon is wrong.

Evidence from witnesses, who said they saw Novy after Chardon was said to have killed her, should have created doubt in the jurors’ minds, he told the Brisbane Court of Appeal on Thursday.

Mr Glynn said the High Court recently found similar issues with witness evidence inĀ Cardinal Pell’s trial for child sexual abuse, when it overturned his conviction.

“It was not reasonably open to the jury to be satisfied beyond a reasonable doubt,” he said referring to Cardinal Pell’s case.

“In this case, contrary to the prosecution’s case that (Chardon) killed the deceased late on the eve of the 6th of February or in the early hours of the 7th, there is unchallenged evidence of the sightings of the deceased after that time.”

He inferred this should have created enough doubt in the jurors’ minds to deliver a not guilty verdict.

A full bench of the Appeal Court was unimpressed by the comparison.

“This argument will be seriously considered but it is hardly in the same character as the evidence in Pell,” Justice Hugh Fraser said as he listened to the submission.

He said the dates witnesses say they saw Novy are questionable but in Cardinal Pell’s case, the date was fixed because it was the day of his first mass at the cathedral.

Mr Glynn also raised questions about the fairness of Chardon’s trial, saying he had been maligned by the prosecution.

He said evidence about Chardon swapping sex for philanthropic donations to Filipino students, making “putrid” remarks about his wife and sexually propositioning one of her friends soon after her disappearance painted a grim picture and attacked his character.

“It was this sort of comment that is designed to ask the jury to disbelieve him,” he said.

“They don’t’ go to whether or not he killed his wife.”

Mr Glynn said it resulted in a sentence being handed to Chardon that was too harsh given his advanced age.

He said Justice Anne Lyons had also failed to consider the two years and 28 days Chardon has spent on remand awaiting trial after being charged with Novy’s murder in 2016.

“Her Honour gave no weight to the time in custody,” he said.

“There should have been some reduction in his sentence for time served.”

However, he conceded Chardon was also serving a six-year sentence for sexually abusing two children at the time.

The court reserved its decision.

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