Baseball bat murder headed to High Court appeal

A man who was jailed for life over the bashing death of his girlfriend’s ex-lover has been granted a special leave to appeal his murder conviction in the High Court.

Mark Vincent Dayney, then 35, was found guilty by a jury in December 2021 of the murder of Mark Emanuel Spencer in the Gold Coast suburb of Coomera.

Mr Spencer was attacked in his own home with a baseball bat and tennis racquet in the early hours of October 1, 2014.

The High Court on Tuesday granted Dayney’s application for special leave to appeal a decision by the Queensland Court of Appeal that had dismissed his second attempt to overturn his conviction.

The High Court’s next step will be to hear the merits of Dayney’s appeal at a later date.

A Queensland jury in 2021 heard Dayney’s girlfriend was a sex worker who paid for the couple’s drug habits and he became enraged when he discovered Mr Spencer attempting to resume his prior relationship with her through an escort booking.

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Dayney told his girlfriend to attend Mr Spencer’s house and create a distraction while he would break in and steal any money or methamphetamine he could find.

Instead of going through with his part of the plan, Dayney confronted the pair in the living room and hit Mr Spencer before wrestling with him.

The Court of Appeal in 2020 granted Dayney a retrial after he was originally found guilty of murder in 2018. He had argued the jury was not given the chance to decide whether he acted in self-defence.

Dayney appealed his 2021 retrial conviction of murder in October 2022, on the grounds that the jury was not correctly instructed about his potential to claim self-defence against provoked assault.

The Court of Appeal in April 2023 dismissed Dayney’s application, finding that his claim was settled during his first challenge to the murder conviction in 2020.

Dayney’s application for special leave to appeal the April 2023 dismissal was granted by the High Court on Tuesday.


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