'Menace' who sent death threats wants lighter jail sentence

A MENACE who sent explosives and threatening letters to high-profile public figures has unsuccessfully argued he should be released from jail immediately.

John Gilbert Gordon suggested his age, 81 years at sentence, and poor health should have saved him from serving eight months of his 2.5-year jail sentence.

He sent 11 letters to public figures - including the Brisbane Archbishop, Federal Opposition Leader, Brisbane Premier, Reserve Bank Governor, Commonwealth Bank chief and the Prime Minister - and one to a private individual.

As well as threatening words, many of the letters arrived with a 0.22 calibre bullet inserted into a detonator.

The sentencing judge, in Brisbane District Court earlier this year, said the people opening the mail, usually staff of the prominent people, might have discerned the letters were from "a crank" through the language used but still it would have caused fear and the threats would have been taken seriously.

Barrister Carl Heaton argued in the Queensland Court of Appeal that the primary judge's discretion had miscarried and he imposed a manifestly excessive sentence.

He said the judge had applied the wrong test because Gordon's defence had not submitted jail would "place an extraordinary burden".

Mr Heaton argued the 17 weeks he had now spent in custody was an appropriate period of actual incarceration and he should be released immediately.

The Crown argued there was no evidence Gordon's health had not deteriorated further in custody.

Justice Margaret White, in a judgment delivered on Tuesday, said the primary judge was mindful of Gordon's age and health conditions and took them into account when he set the release date.

The appeal against sentence was refused.


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