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Harry Omeros spent many a long night roaming the streets of Southport in his early years with the Lacey Boys. They thought it was funny watching people shit themselves when they got a firearm shoved in their faces.

Attorney-General seeks longer Lacey jail term

Amelia Bentley

July 16, 2009

Jade Lacey, left, and his brother Dionne.Jade Lacey, left, and his brother Dionne.

The Queensland Attorney-General is seeking to have jailed killer Dionne Lacey’s sentence increased from 10 years to 16.

The Court of Appeal in Brisbane was told yesterday Dionne Matthew Lacey behaved like a “psychopath” when he shot and killed his friend Kevin Palmer in May 2007 and deserved to spend more time behind bars than he was sentenced to by his trial judge.

In May this year Dionne Lacey, 22, was jailed for 10 years after he was found guilty of the manslaughter of Mr Palmer, a Nerang landscaper who he shot in the chest in 2007.

His brother, 26-year-old wannabe rapper Jade who calls himself Lace Italiano, was jailed for five years for unlawful wounding for shooting Mr Palmer in the leg moments before Dionne Lacey fired the fatal bullet.

At an appeal hearing yesterday Solicitor-General Walter Sofronoff QC, representing the Attorney-General, said the Attorney-General was appealing Dionne Lacey’s sentence because the crime “warranted a substantially higher penalty” than he had received.

He said a jail term between 13 and 16 years would be “justified”.

Justice Patrick Keane asked if one of the arguments for extending Dionne Lacy’s sentence was also the need to protect the community from him.

“The protection of the community from a person who, if not a psychopath, does a pretty good impression of one?” asked Mr Keane.

Mr Sofronoff replied that was indeed his submission, adding that Dionne Lacey had shown no remorse and a last minute apology made to Kevin Palmer’s family at the time of the killer’s sentencing was “the most hollow form of apology”.

“He has a serious cultural mindset … a belief in violence, in brandishing loaded guns,” he said.

Mr Sofronoff said after shooting Mr Palmer, Dionne and his brother did not offer their friend assistance but “walked out coolly with their pistols”.

The Court of Appeal also heard arguments from lawyers representing the Lacey brothers yesterday who were appealing the brothers’ convictions and seeking leave to appeal against their sentences.

Barristers for the Gold Coast brothers, who are sons of millionaire Ken Lacey, claimed their convictions should be overturned because inside information given to one of the Lacey’s lawyers from a woman claiming to be a juror at their trial was never investigated.

Barrister Bret Walker, for Dionne Lacey, said a woman claiming to be a member of the jury in the high profile trial phoned one of the lawyers involved in the case to dob on another juror the day after the brothers were sentenced.

Mr Walker told the court the woman phoned Dionne Lacey’s solicitor Andrew Boe on May 13, to inform him that the brother of a fellow female juror had been “shot by a Lebanese man” and that this juror had “a great deal of control over the jury.”

Though he described the information as “quadruple hearsay” Mr Walker said the allegation by the caller indicated the juror she referred to could have been biased against his client and influenced other members of the jury panel.

He said the information, combined with his allegation the Lacey trial judge did not investigate the claim once Mr Boe wrote to him about it, “gives rise to a miscarriage of justice”.

But Court of Appeal Justice Margaret McMurdo questioned whether there was any evidence the woman who phoned was in fact a juror and not “a fantasist”.

Mr Walker said the woman’s name matched one of the names on the list of jurors in the trial, though admitted this did not mean it was she who called.

He said the matter could have been investigated, but when Mr Boe wrote to trial Judge Glenn Martin about the issue on May 15 he did not receive a response.

He asked the Court of Appeal to quash the Lacey brothers’ convictions.

“What can be done about it, our submission is, set aside the conviction,” he said.

However, Justice John Muir said the situation “seemed curious”.

“Your side doesn’t approach the judge (after getting no response), it doesn’t inquire further,” he said.

Justice Keane also criticised the Lacey’s defence team, saying it was “not hard” for one of them to chase up the issue with Judge Martin.

He said a failure to do so was “amazing”.

“I know you bear no onus, but you could have done something … it wasn’t too careful, it wasn’t too considerate,” he said.

Mr Walker said when Mr Boe tried to have the matter mentioned before Judge Martin he was unsuccessful.

Barrister Jeff Hunter, for Jade Lacey, told the court his client adopted submissions made by Mr Walker, which also included claims Judge Martin failed to properly instruct the jury in the trial.

Kevin Palmer’s mother Illaria Legge was in court to hear the appeal.

The case, presided over by five justices on the bench of the Court of Appeal, continues.

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