A woman found guilty of helping to cover up the death of slain Illawarra teen Louise O’Brien will learn the length of her jail sentence in Wollongong District Court today.
The woman, who cannot be named for legal reasons, stands convicted of being an accessory after the fact in Louise’s October 2008 manslaughter, and has already spent more than 22 months in prison.
Barrister Wayne Flynn, acting for the accused woman during sentencing submissions yesterday, drew on relevant past cases to show how, even in extreme cases and when the crime concealed was murder rather than manslaughter, courts tended not to impose a maximum sentence.
The woman could spend up to five years in jail for her part in the killing. She and her 19-year-old son were found to have helped an elderly woman responsible for Louise’s death dispose of the teen’s body.
Crown prosecutor Michael Fox argued that disposing of a body must be towards the more serious end of the charge, and countered Mr Flynn’s suggestion that the Crown case had merely established the woman had arranged for the digging of a hole.
‘‘Clearly she was involved in the placing of the body in the bottom – either directly or indirectly,’’ Mr Fox said.
The Crown told Judge Paul Conlon that, for the sake of deterrence to the wider community, the woman’s relationship with the elderly woman should not diminish her culpability or ‘‘result in a lesser penalty’’.
Sentencing is expected to conclude before Judge Conlon today.