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Why Borce Ristevski is not facing a murder charge

Yesterday, on the eve of his murder trial, Borce Ristevski admitted to killing his wife Karen.

He pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of manslaughter and prosecutors withdrew the murder charge.

Ristevski, 54, was charged after his 47-year-old wife went missing in June 2016.  Karen’s body was found dumped in bushland eight months later.

Mr Ristevski had previously pleaded not guilty to murdering his wife.

Neil asked former Chief Magistrate, Nick Papas QC, why Mr Ristevski is not facing a murder charge.

“The problem for the prosecution is it has no evidence of murderous intent,” Mr Papas said.

“It’s a question of what they [the accused] were thinking at the time of the killing. That’s why the distinction between murder and manslaughter is often very hard to understand,” he said.

The prosecution was trying to infer murderous intent by pointing to what Mr Ristevski did after Karen’s death, and according to the judge that evidence wasn’t enough.

“I can understand why people would find this extremely hard to understand. This is a case involving circumstantial evidence,” Mr Papas said.

Manslaughter carries a maximum sentence of 20 years.

Mr Papas said it would be extremely unusual for someone without prior convictions to receive the maximum sentence for manslaughter.