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Attorney-General considers appeal against scuba sentence

Queensland’s attorney-general is considering appealing the sentence given to an American man over the scuba-diving death of his wife on the Great Barrier Reef in 2003.


David Gabriel Watson, 32, was sentenced to four-and-a-half years’ jail on Friday after pleading guilty in the Queensland Supreme Court in Brisbane to the manslaughter of Christina (Tina) while on their honeymoon in north Queensland. He had been charged with murder, to which he pleaded not guilty, but crown persecutors accepted the plea to the lesser charge. Watson will serve 12 months behind bars before he is released on a suspended sentence. Attorney-General Cameron Dick has asked for the sentencing remarks, and will consider lodging an appeal. Shadow Attorney-General Lawrence Springborg has told the ABC the government should examine the Watson case. “Obviously, the DPP (Director of Public Prosecutions) had decided they would enter into a plea agreement, and a lot of people will be shaming their heads, particularly the family of the victim,” he said. US authorities express outrage US authorities have expressed their outrage over the leniency of the sentence. Alabama’s Attorney-General Troy King told Fairfax newspapers on Saturday he will lead a mission to Queensland to lobby for an appeal. If that isn’t successful, he will push “America’s legal boundaries to the limit” and attempt to charge Watson with murder, for the second time, when he is deported back to the US upon his release. Americans in Watson’s home state of Alabama have reacted with fury and disgust at the jail sentence. “It makes me sick, he should get 40 years for sure! Loser!” a reader vented on Alabama’s Birmingham News website on Friday. Another wrote: “One year. That is pathetic. I hope that when he does get out and returns home everyone gives him hell”. Tina’s friends and relatives also used the Birmingham News website to show their anger. “I am one of Tina’s cousins and we are completely and totally outraged by this sentence… what a complete slap in the face to Tina’s family,” the cousin wrote.