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The Borce sentence: It’s too light, but don’t blame the judge — Neil Mitchell

“Don’t blame the judge.”
“Blame the system.”

Neil Mitchell has joined the chorus of condemnation over the sentence handed to wife-killer Borce Ristevski, but also backed legal heavyweights who say the judge was left in a difficult position.

“This man Ristevski was a cunning crook and he gamed the system by not talking,” Neil said.

“The judge had little option.”

Ristevski still hasn’t revealed how he killed wife Karen, only pleading guilty to her manslaughter, which meant the judge could not deliver a sentence at the upper end of the scale for manslaughter (the maximum is 20 years but no one has received more than 13 years for several years).

“The problem here is that there’s no factual basis upon which the judge can operate,” Arie Freiberg, chair of the Sentencing Advisory Council, told Neil Mitchell this morning.

“He could not work on the basis that he was guilty of murder, in which case the sentence would have been twice as high.

“The judge really can’t speculate (about how someone died). (He) was in a difficult position.”

Click PLAY to hear Neil Mitchell discuss the case in depth with Mr Freiberg

Neil Mitchell also pointed to recent history that shows the Borce sentence was in line with comparable cases.

“Stacey Edwards stabbed her partner in the neck while high on ice,” he said.

“The judge said her moral culpability was high (and) she got a minimum six years and nine months.”

Click PLAY to hear Neil Mitchell’s full editorial and interview with Respect Victoria’s Tracy Gaudry