Chardon appeal dismissed after prison death
The family of millionaire Gold Coast wife killer John Chardon told a court they did not want to pursue the appeal he had launched against his manslaughter conviction after he died in prison this year.
But lawyers urged the court to hand down a decision in the appeal, arguing it may have an impact on settling the estate of Chardon and his victim wife Novy and due to the consequences his conviction may have on his family.
Chardon, a successful Gold Coast businessman, was found guilty of the manslaughter of his 34-year-old wife Novy in 2019 and sentenced to 15 years' jail.
He lodged an appeal against the conviction and sentence and the Court of Appeal had been due to hand down its decision when he died in prison in October after suffering a heart attack.
After his death, the court invited submissions from legal representatives about whether it could or should still deliver the appeal judgment given the appeal hearing had already taken place in April this year.
According to court documents, Chardon's adult children initially said they wanted the court to deliver the appeal judgment "upon the merits" but later withdrew those instructions.
Lawyers acting for Chardon's family said they were unable to take instructions from Novy and Chardon's two juvenile children because Chardon's adult child said the kids "would not speak with the solicitor or any lawyers because of the likely trauma involved".
Chardon's solicitors had submitted the appeal should still be decided, arguing the manslaughter conviction may have an impact on the settling of the estates of Chardon and Novy and because of the impact the conviction may have on his surviving family.
"Counsel submit that it is in the interests of justice for the Court to exercise the jurisdiction they submit has survived notwithstanding the death of the appellant," the appeal judges wrote.
"They refer to the possible impact of the conviction for manslaughter in the administration of the estates of the appellant and Novy Chardon in consequence of the "forfeiture rule" which excludes a person who unlawfully kills another person from any benefit under the will or intestacy of the victim, the seriousness of the charge of which the appellant was convicted, the seriousness of the consequences of the conviction for third parties, including children, the sentencing remarks by the trial judge describing the seriousness of the impacts of the offence of which the appellant was convicted, and that the giving of the judgment would not inappropriately impose upon the limited resources of the Court.
"Counsel submit that in these circumstances the Court should determine the first ground of the conviction appeal and deliver judgment."
But the Court of Appeal today found it did not have the jurisdiction to determine Chardon's appeal against his conviction and the 15-year jail sentence he was handed.
"The appropriate order is to dismiss the appeal against conviction and the application for leave to appeal against sentence on the ground that the Court's jurisdiction to determine the appeal and application ceased upon the death of the appellant," they wrote.
According to the judgment, Novy's estate still has not been finalised seven years after she was killed.
She went missing from the Gold Coast home the pair shared in 2013 amid a divorce dispute and her body has never been found.
Originally published as Chardon appeal dismissed after prison death