Appeal denied for woman jailed over fatal beating

The appeal was dismissed after the Supreme Court ruling found no "risk of a substantial miscarriage of justice".
The appeal was dismissed after the Supreme Court ruling found no "risk of a substantial miscarriage of justice".

A woman who was jailed for life for being party to the fatal beating of a man after her own birthday party has been denied the ability to appeal her sentence.

Cecilia Uhrle and her co-accused, Faamanu Fesuluai, Unaloto Tongia and Esau Vailagilala, were sentenced to life in prison in April 2013 for the brutal attack on John Li'a, 23, in Mt Roskill on October 14, 2011.

In sentencing, Auckland High Court Judge Cooper said the victim and his sister, Millie Li'a, had been at a birthday party for Uhrle on the night of the attack.

Ms Li'a and Uhrle had argued, and when the brother and sister left the party, Mr Li'a pulled out a neighbour's letterbox and used it to smash the rear windscreen of Uhrle's car.

That led to another series of altercations, and later Uhrle and the other three offenders went looking for Mr Li'a armed with weapons.

The post mortem examination showed wounds made by at least four weapons including a straight-edged blade and a serrated blade.

Judge Cooper said after finding Mr Li'a on Nash Rd, the three male offenders had attacked him while Uhrle watched.

She left the scene when a neighbour armed with a machete tried to intervene, but the attack continued.

The neighbour later described seeing Mr Li'a being "rag dolled": held upside down and smashed into the ground, kicked and punched.

Mr Li'a bled to death from the stab wounds.

Mr Cooper said Uhrle had driven the others to the scene intending to commit violence, and must have known that murder was likely.

She was sentenced to a minimum prison term of 13 years.

In the Supreme Court this month , Uhrle sought leave to appeal her sentence based on the ground the jury was misdirected due to party liability.

However, the Supreme Court ruling found no "risk of a substantial miscarriage of justice" thus the appeal was dismissed.

- NZ Herald

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