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Killer gets 16 years

Thursday, 18th September, 2014

By Andrew Robertson

A convicted murderer who stabbed another man to death in Wilcannia last year will spend at least 16-and-half-years behind bars.

Alan John Hines was yesterday sentenced in the Supreme Court for killing 24-year-old Aaron Jones in the early hours of February 19.

Earlier this year a murder trial heard the two men were at separate parties in Hood Street after a funeral when an argument broke out between Hines and two of his sisters over a mobile phone.

The trial heard a confrontation ensued between Mr Jones and Hines following a fight between their de facto partners which escalated when Hines ran to retrieve a
kitchen knife from his house across the street.

The 38-year-old returned to confront Mr Jones who had armed himself with a metal trampoline leg.

Moments later Mr Jones was dead after Hines plunged the knife into the 24-year-old father of two's chest.

Justice Peter Hamill yesterday described Mr Jones' killing as "an intensely sad case" but that he was satisfied that Hines had not intended to kill the younger man.

"The lack of planning and premeditation, the lack of intention to kill and the degree of provocation amount to significant matters of mitigation," he said in handing down his sentence for grievous bodily harm.

He was satisfied that Jones, who had threatened to bash the physically smaller Hines and had swung at him with the iron bar, was the initial aggressor.

A heavily intoxicated Hines had "snapped and lost control" in the face of the "violent actions" and threats, he said.

"I am satisfied that the accused lost his self control as a result of the provocative conduct."

Yesterday's sentence was the first to take into account victim impact statements by family members in a murder or manslaughter trial since the introduction of new legislation.

Justice Hamill told family members who were present in court yesterday that "I accept that it is appropriate to take your suffering into account" in determining the sentencing.

"I am particularly persuaded by the fact that the small and isolated community of Wilcannia is greatly affected by the needless cutting short of Mr Jones' life and by the fact that he brought joy to the life of a disabled child whose future care will now be much more reliant on the resources of the State."

Justice Hamill said Hines had a long criminal history that included convictions for rape, assault and the murder of his girlfriend in 1994.

However, he said Hines had shown "a degree of insight" into his most recent actions and had demonstrated some remorse.

"In my view, the community's interest and protection lies in the rehabilitation of this man after he serves what will be a long time in jail," he said.

That objective, he said, would be best served by a longer than usual period of parole.

He sentenced Hines to 24 years in jail with a non-parole period of 16-and-halfyears.

With time already served Hines will be eligible for parole in August 2029.

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