A man charged with the murder of an 8-year-old child has refused a Magistrate's offer for him to be represented by a criminal defence lawyer.
Jason Richard Struhs, and his wife, Kerrie Elizabeth Struhs, appeared at Toowoomba Magistrates Court via video link.
They had been bail refused and held in custody by police since the charges were laid.
Police alleged that the pair held a ‘prayer ritual', rather than call paramedics, after the child fell ill, leading to her death.
Charged with Murder
50-year-old Jason Struhs was charged with murder along with his 46-year-old wife Kerrie Elizabeth Struhs. The pair also face charges including torture and failing to provide the necessities of life.
Police launched an investigation with the support of the Child Trauma Unit and the Homicide Investigation Unit before charging the couple.
The prosecution case is that after Elizabeth Struhs became extremely ill, her parents did not call an ambulance. Rather, they called a group of religious friends to attend the house and pray to God to save their child.
Police may rely on the evidence of a neighbour who claimed to have seen a large crowd gathered outside the home and that he heard loud voices and music.
The couple were arrested after their daughter Elizabeth was found dead inside their residence.
A neighbour claimed that a paramedic ran from the home crying after finding the girl's body.
Offer of Criminal Defence Lawyer Refused
The pair charged with murder appeared in court via video link from Toowoomba watch house, where they have been in custody since their arrest.
Magistrate Kay Philipson encouraged Mr Struhs to take advantage of a criminal defence lawyer for the ‘very serious matters'. However, the 50-year-old refused the offer twice, stating, “No, thank you…I won't be applying for bail.”
Where police bail refuse a person, they must be brought before a court as soon as practicable so that they have an opportunity to make an application for bail before a Magistrate.
The case will return to court at a later date.
Murder is a ‘strictly indictable' charge. This means that it will be finalised in either the District Court or Supreme Court.
The maximum penalty for a person charged with murder is life imprisonment.
There is a standard non-parole period of 20 years imprisonment. This is the amount of time you must spend in jail before you can be granted parole. While this is not mandatory and will vary with each case, it is a starting point for the Court.
Every person found guilty of murder has been sentenced to jail. The length of imprisonment ranges from 15 years to life imprisonment.
Despite this there have been a number of recent examples of an Accused person beating murder charges after retaining experienced criminal defence lawyers. Having the best criminal lawyers for murder charges will go a long way towards beating these charges. Call Astor Legal on (02) 7804 2823. Or, you can email email@example.com.
In order to establish a Murder charge, the prosecution must prove beyond reasonable doubt:
- The alleged victim died; and
- The Accused's act or failure to act caused that death; and
- The Accused either:
a. had the intent to kill or commit grievous bodily harm(ie. cause really serious injury); and you foresaw the possibility of death occurring; OR
b. had the intent to commit an offence with a maximum penalty of 25 years or more.
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