THE killing of Tamworth police officer Senior Constable David Rixon was “spontaneous” and his murderer should not be given life imprisonment, a judge has been told.
Michael Allan Jacobs, 49, appeared in the NSW Supreme Court in Sydney yesterday, wearing prison greens and looking dishevelled and unshaven, to face a final sentence hearing.
His barrister, Tim Hoyle, SC, argued Jacobs did not intend to kill the 40-year-old highway patrol officer, who was a father of six, when he gunned him down in West Tamworth on March 2 last year.
Mr Hoyle said Jacobs was under the influence of amphetamines at the time and his perception that he was being unfairly targeted by Tamworth police was on his mind.
“Rather than being predicated by an intention to kill, it was predicated by a spontaneous, reactive action on his part,” Mr Hoyle told the hearing.
“This whole tragedy occurred in the space of a matter of seconds.
“The decision by Mr Jacobs to pull that weapon out and point it and pull the trigger was a spontaneous reaction influenced to a very large extent by those matters.”
Mr Hoyle has previously argued that the lack of intention means the mandatory life sentence for the murder of a police officer does not apply to Jacobs.
Crown prosecutor Pat Barrett argued the murder was in the worst category of the offence.
“If this case is not the worst category ... my submission is that it falls into the very top end of the offence of murder,” Mr Barrett said.
“It involves the murder of a policeman in the execution of his duty.”
Justice Richard Button said he couldn’t think of a case in the past 25 years where a criminal was given life imprisonment following a finding they did not intend to kill their victim.
“I don’t think there’s a single one,” he said.
It was initially proposed that Jacobs should be sentenced on September 27, but the court heard this was Police Remembrance Day.
“It could be exceptionally painful for the family of the deceased,” Justice Button said.
Jacobs is facing a mandatory sentence of life imprisonment for murdering a police officer after a jury took less than an hour to find him guilty last month.
The trial heard Jacobs shot Senior Constable Rixon in the chest after he was pulled over for a random breath test in Lorraine St, West Tamworth.
Senior Constable Rixon returned fire, hitting Jacobs in the abdomen, leg and shoulder. Jacobs could then be heard screaming: “Die, I’m sorry. Sorry sir, sorry”.
Senior Constable Rixon was rushed to hospital but died a short time later, while Jacobs later underwent life-saving surgery and spent months in Newcastle’s John Hunter Hospital.
Jacobs will be sentenced in Sydney on October 4.