The South Australian man who shot dead his son and the teenager’s girlfriend last year thinks he should have got a lighter jail sentence because he had his stomach stapled, a court has heard.
Pawel Klosowski killed his son Lukasz along with his girlfriend, Chelsea Ireland, both 19, at his property at Mount McIntyre, near Millicent, in the state’s southeast in August 2020.
In November last year, the killer, 47, pleaded guilty to both of their murders.
Klosowski was handed down a life sentence in the Adelaide Supreme Court in April and would spend at least 34 years behind bars before being eligible for parole.
But on Tuesday, a lawyer for the killer argued this was “manifestly excessive”, and told the court his client was more susceptible to the effects of alcohol because his stomach was stapled, which could have played a part in the outcome of the argument he had with his son before the shooting.
Because of his early guilty pleas, the murderer was eligible for a 40 per cent discount to his sentence but Justice Anne Bampton, who convicted Klosowski in 2020, only granted him 15 per cent.
Citing psychological reports, she said the Polish national had several problems, including anger management, excessive alcohol consumption and relationship issues.
“While the (psychological reports) explain your behaviour, it does not excuse it,” Justice Bampton said.
“To reduce the non-parole period in the circumstances of your offending close to the maximum of 40 per cent would, in my view, result in a sentence that is so disproportionate to the seriousness of your offending, such that it would affect public confidence in the administration of justice.”
However, Nick Vadasz, for Klosowski, argued in the Supreme Court of Appeal on Tuesday that his client — who appeared via video link — deserved a shorter non parole period because the 15 per cent discount for an early guilty plea had resulted in a “manifestly excessive” jail sentence, and the starting period of the non parole term was too high.
The lawyer said he did not dispute the facts of the case or the argument that Klosowski’s actions were deliberate.
But, Mr Vadasz argued the judge only considered his clients early guilty plea that saved time, not that there were other mitigating factors — including his contrition and remorse, his co-operation with police and that the killings were not premeditated.
He said his client had no history of violence but there were a number of mental and physical factors that contributed to his behaviour; pointing out Klosowski suffered epileptic fits, had a frontal lobe issue and was more susceptible to the effects of alcohol because his stomach was stapled.
“As well as an early guilty plea and co-operation, in my submission, he is genuinely overwhelmed with grief and remorse, as he killed his only child and Chelsea Ireland,” Mr Vadasz said.
“The sentencing judge imposed a non parole period of 40 years (and) said the only mitigating factor was his guilty pleas.
“It is difficult to extract from that whether she was referring to the utilitarian aspect of the guilty plea only, taking into account what’s accepted as genuine remorse.”
Prosecutor Lucy Boord SC said Mr Vadasz’s “ill-conceived” argument was “without merit” and not reasonably arguable.