Accessory After The Fact to Murder

 

Sydney woman, Hannah Quinn, has avoided jail time for her involvement in the killing of a man with a samurai sword during a failed home invasion and instead been sentenced to a two-year community corrections order after being found guilty as an accessory after the fact to manslaughter.

In Sydney 2018, Ms Quinn was at her boyfriend Blake Davis’ house in Forest Lodge when an aspiring rapper, Jett McKee, broke into the property and attempted to rob them.

Mr Davis was knocked unconscious with knuckledusters by the rapper and woke to a screaming Ms Quinn.

He then ran outside, and using a Samurai sword, struck Mr McKee’s head.

Around two months ago, Mr Davis was sentenced to a maximum five years and three months jail time for the crime with a non-parole period of two years and nine months, while Ms Quinn was cleared of the murder.

Nevertheless, due to her “temporarily evading” police after the incident, she was found guilty of acting as accessory after the fact to manslaughter.

Court Rules Ms Quinn’s Action of Evading Police as “Towards the Lower End of Criminality” and “Sense of Misguided Loyalty” to Boyfriend

On Friday 7th May 2021, Ms Quinn faced Darlinghurst Supreme Court where Justice Natalie Adams handed the 26-year-old woman a two-year community corrections order with the condition she receive treatment for her mental health issues.

Leading up to this, the court heard the granny flat of Ms Quinn’s boyfriend had been stormed by Mr McKee, who used an imitation pistol and a knuckle duster to attack the couple before escaping the scene.

As he absconded, her grabbed Ms Quinn’s handbag, who then went on to chase the rapper down the street.

It wasn’t long, however, before her boyfriend caught up to them, at which point he smashed the rapper’s skull with the Samurai sword.

From here, it was heard the pair became panicked and took off in haste from their inner-city home.

They paid cash to stay at various hotels across Sydney before finally giving themselves up to police a few days later – a move which defence barrister, Tom Hughes, told the court had been “to take stock of the situation” rather than to evade justice.

Meanwhile, the court also heard the pair were “small-time” drug dealers and used cannabis on a daily basis, however neither had a history of violence or crime.

In sentencing, Justice Adams ruled Ms Quinn’s action in evading police following Mr McKee’s as “towards the lower end of criminality”.

She added that the defendant had acted out a “sense of misguided loyalty and emotional attachment to Mr Davis”.

Justice Adams discarded the prosecutor’s case that Ms Quinn was looking to evade police entirely.

She also rejected the contention that when Ms Quinn cleaned her boyfriend’s head wound after he was punched by rapper using the knuckle duster, that it was an attempt to conceal evidence.

“Nothing that Quinn did in that time was to avoid apprehension indefinitely – they did not leave Sydney, let alone NSW,” Justice Adams said.

“Ms Quinn made no effort to conceal identity and she stuck with her boyfriend at that time out of loyalty”.

Furthermore, Justice Adams said she was not satisfied beyond a reasonable doubt that Ms Quinn knew Mr McKee was dead given he walked almost 80 metres from the place where he was fatally struck before eventually collapsing.

“I am unable to be satisfied beyond reasonable doubt that she knew he was dead when she fled the scene,” she said.

Justice Adams added her belief that Quinn had not shown remorse for her actions following the attack.

“Although I am satisfied she has been profoundly affected, I am not satisfied she is remorseful.”

Acting as Accessory After the Fact to Murder

In NSW, acting as accessory after the fact to murder etc is against the law.

Put simply, acting as “accessory after the fact” refers to conduct that amounts to knowingly providing assistance to the person who committed the murder or manslaughter (the principal offender) or to a person who aided or abetted the principal offender.

In NSW, the law on acting as accessory after the fact to murder etc is outlined in section 349 of the Crimes Act 1900, which prescribes a maximum penalty of up to 25 years in jail for an offence.

To be found guilty to a charge of accessory after the fact to murder, each of the following must be proven:

  • That a person other than you committed the crime of murder (known as the “principal offender”); and
  • You are knowingly assisted the principal offender after the crime was committed; and
  • At the time of this assistance, you were aware of all the circumstances that gave rise to the precise offence committed by the principal offender; and
  • With that knowledge, you gave assistance so that the principal offender could escape arrest, trial or punishment for the crime of murder.

 

By Sahar Adatia and Jimmy Singh.

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