Grace Millane's "hideous" treatment of her dead body by the killer did not mean that he was "numb" when he actually killed her, his lawyers claim.
28-year-old Jesse Kempson appeals to his sentence and life sentence because he strangled the young British backpacker on December 1, 2018 during “hard sex”.
The couple met Tinder and after several drinks the night before their 22nd birthday went to his hotel room in Auckland, New Zealand.
Kempson took pictures of her body after her death and was later found in a suitcase buried in a wooded area outside of the city.
He was detained for at least 17 years in February after a protracted trial in which his defense claimed to have accidentally killed her during sex.
British backpacker Grace Millane (pictured) was strangled in an Auckland hotel room the night before her 22nd birthday on December 1, 2018
28-year-old Jesse Kempson appeals to his sentence and life sentence because he strangled Ms. Millane on December 1, 2018 during “hard sex”
Rachael Reed, his appeal lawyer, said it was a procedure to not justify Kempson's reprehensible treatment of her body.
"I make no attempt to tolerate or apologize for his actions after Ms. Millane's death," she told the Auckland Court of Appeals Thursday.
"I can't and don't want that – they're inexcusable. This appeal is about whether the judicial process has failed. & # 39;
Kempson, who watched a video link to his prison while his family was in the courtroom, remains innocent of the murder charge.
But there's no argument that he took intimate photos of her body before watching hardcore porn for hours when she was dead in the room.
It is also not controversial that Kempson organized a tinder date with another woman and tells a wrong story about a "friend" who accidentally killed a girl during sex just before he ruthlessly dropped Ms. Millane's body.
Kempson, who watched a video link to his prison while his family was in the courtroom, remains innocent of the murder charge
Ms. Millane's killer played for an amateur softball team in Auckland. He told potential sexual partners that his cousin was a rugby star for the All Blacks and that he had cancer
Ms. Reed argued that Kempson's 17-year parole was obviously unfair because the judge overemphasized his actions after the murder.
& # 39; Behavior after death is surely sometimes hideous. However, we have to look at the connection to the state of mind that he had at the time of the murder, ”she said.
Ms. Reed said none of his "uncomfortable" actions affected the extent of the calluses when he killed Ms. Millane.
She said Kempson may be so horrified at what he did that he used pornography to distract himself.
Hon. Justice Simon Moore (pictured) described Kempson as "depraved" and ordered that he should not be considered for parole for at least 17 years
When convicted, Justice Simon Moore told the killer that his actions were "behavior that underscores lack of empathy and a sense of self-determination and objectification."
He said the attack was not meditated or driven by anger, but there is no doubt that Ms. Millane is vulnerable.
Justice Moore described the photos Kempson took of Ms. Millane's body as "depraved" and said his actions showed a "lack of empathy".
"You are a tall and powerful man, she was tiny. They were in a position of total physical dominance. She trusted you, ”he said.
Ms. Reed reiterated that there was no evidence that Kempson intended to kill Ms. Millane, Justice Moore also found.
She noticed that there were no defensive injuries to her client, which implied that Ms. Millane did not resist and agreed to be choked.
Ms. Reed also argued that Ms. Millaine was not vulnerable when she was killed because she agreed to the hard sex.
The non-probation period is therefore too long and should be reduced to 12 years, she argued on Thursday.
Kempson's team of lawyers also claims the jury shouldn't have tried him because Ms. Millane agreed to the injuries that killed her.
The parents of murdered British backpackers Grace Millane, Dave and Gillian spoke to the media at the High Court in Auckland, New Zealand last November
He was convicted of murdering Ms. Millane (pictured left and right) by strangling her at an Auckland hotel after meeting her via Tinder on December 1, 2018 – the day before her 22nd birthday
Ms. Reed put forward four grounds of appeal for legal aspects, mainly related to how the jury was instructed before her deliberations.
Other alleged judicial errors were the jury's ability to understand expert evidence, probabilities, and character evidence from Kempson's former lovers.
The key issue discussed on Thursday was whether the jury was properly instructed to properly consider Ms. Millane's consent to the asphyxiation.
For murder to be proven under the circumstances of the case, Kempson must have acted with "ruthless violence" – otherwise it could only be a minor crime.
Ms. Reed said the jury should have been better advised to check to what point Kempson believed he had Ms. Millane's consent to choke her.
"Whether the complainant had an honest belief in consent is a crucial live issue and the jury was unable to get involved," she said.
"Did he have time to realize that it was before she died, and if so, did he have an honest belief in consent at the time?"
Left, Grace in April 2017. Right, adventurous Grace is pictured here in September 2016 in front of the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco
Shocking images played to the jury show the moment when the police discovered the body of the murdered British backpacker Grace Millane who was thrown into this muddy hole in the ground
Ms. Reed also asked whether Kempson was the “ruthless intention” required for the murder between putting pressure on Ms. Millane's neck and her death.
She claimed that if the jury had been able to better assess Kempson's "state of mind" and "conscious assessment" of the situation, she might have decided that he still had consent after she passed out.
"And he didn't face the risks of continuing under these circumstances, and that (death) was a reasonable option," she said.
"The approval should not be withdrawn just because someone died."
Much of the legal discussion related to the “question path” given to the jury to reach a verdict.
Question paths are a "logical path to follow when considering" where the judges focus on the facts of the case and not on emotions or irrelevant details.
"This is a series of questions covering the elements of the crime that require proof, specific to each indictment found," said the New Zealand Courts website.
"The question paths also remind the juries of the duty and standard of proof for each element."
Grace Millane in a hotel lift with her killer in the hours leading up to her death on December 1, 2018
The two of them walk down an Auckland street on their night before returning to Kempson's hotel room
Judge Stephen Kos told Ms. Reed that the implications of her reasoning were "serious" and could provide consent to defend against murder.
"Anyway, I object to your suggestion," he said.
Ms. Reed made it clear that this was not her intention, and the only point was that unless he acted ruthlessly, Kempson could not be guilty of murder.
She also argued that the "normal members of the public" had no experience of understanding the expert evidence of how Ms. Millane died.
Therefore, they should have received specific and "more balanced" instructions on what to look for and take into account.
Ms. Reed also rejected evidence from Kempson's ex-lovers who attacked his character and impaired the jury's view of him.
She argued that her evidence was irrelevant and "highly controversial" in one case and should not have been allowed.
Detective Inspector Scott Beard speaks to the media on February 21 at the Auckland High Court. After the conviction, Detective Beard of the Auckland City Police said the death was "senseless and unnecessary".
Pictures of the bedroom in which Kempson throttled Ms. Millane during an allegedly failed sex game
After the conviction, Detective Inspector Scott Beard of the Auckland City Police said the death was "senseless and unnecessary".
The defense against “rough sex” used during the trial sparked outrage among women’s rights activists who demanded that men should not be used in murder trials.
Kempson took a series of intimate photos of her naked body before looking at hardcore porn in the early hours of her death.
Before burying her body, he arranged another tinder appointment for the afternoon, telling a woman a wrong story about a supposed friend who had killed a woman during sex.
He was first captured by a message he'd left on Grace's Facebook profile page the night before when he was waiting to leave the Bluestone Room bar around the corner.
When contacted by the police, he weaved an elaborate network of lies, initially claiming that he and Grace had split up as friends to meet the next day.
Kempson changed his story several times before getting involved in court defense.
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