The father of a New Zealand musician pushed to his death through the second-storey window of a Perth hotel has welcomed the life sentence imposed on the former bouncer and bikie gang associate guilty of the random violence.
Alan Marshall sat stoically in the West Australian Supreme Court yesterday as Stefan Pahia Schmidt was jailed for a minimum of 14 years for the murder of his son Andy – although the Hastings-based family’s ordeal is not necessarily over as defence lawyers indicated there would be an appeal.
Mr Marshall was philosophical after an emotionless Schmidt was led from the dock to Casuarina Prison after learning his fate from Justice Ralph Simmonds.
“No result can bring Andrew back to us, nothing can compensate for that but I guess what we were looking for was a punishment that fitted the crime and something that’s a really strong deterrent.
“Having been through the whole process, I’d say it was a good result from that point of view.
“In a way there’s some closure for us. It will never be over for us but it’s the end of a phasentsG. We’re pleased to move on from herente,” he told Fairfax Media.
Andy Marshall was the first cousin of Feilding farmer Scott Guy, who was shot in his driveway in July 2010. Mr Guy’s brother-in-law Ewan Macdonald was charged with murder, but acquitted.
The sentencing of Schmidt, who will be eligible for release in 2025, marked an end point of a saga that began when the 26-year-old propelled Andy through glass and five metres onto the pavement outside the Ocean Beach Hotel in suburban Cottlesloe on May 8 last year.
A jury needed only five hours to find Schmidt guilty when an eight-day trial concluded on June 20.
Schmidt had not denied pushing Andy through the window, but the trained boxer and kickboxer pleaded not guilty and claimed the death was an accident because he only meant to push the Kiwi out of the way as he tried to tell two girls he knew to ‘‘go home’’.
The 29-year-old drummer had been talking to the girls when Schmidt, who has links to Perth’s Rock Machine motorcycle gang, approached Andy, swore and then lashed out.
Closed circuit TV footage then shows Schmidt punching another male to the bar floor; another angle depicted him glancing to where Andy lay dying on the footpath as he exited the hotel.
Crown prosecutor Amanda Forrester said a life sentence was entirely justified, and there needed to be strong deterrents to acts of random violence in licensed venues.
Schmidt’s defence team, led by high profile Perth QC Tom Percy, sought a lesser sentence after trying unsuccessfully to have the charge downgraded to manslaughter or unlawful assault causing death.
When the sentencing process began last Friday Mr Marshall read out a victim impact statement; his wife Wendy and Andy’s siblings also outlined their devastation via videolink.
Mr Marshall said he felt like collapsing when West Australian police informed him of Andy’s death.
“Time slipped into a slow-motion nightmare, not a day starts without a sick feeling and a deep abiding pain,” he said.
Schmidt showed no remorse.
“My message to him is the same to everyone: with violence there are no winners, everybody loses and some more than others,’’ Mr Marshall said.
“We have to get that message clearly into people’s brains and the sooner we can get it there, obviously the better it is.”
Mrs Marshall likened the loss of her son to being trapped in “an avalanche of black snow” and revealed she had found Andy’s diary and learned he’d planned to return home to New Zealand, marry and start a family.
“The sense of loss,” she said “is overwhelming”.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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