Children in foster care 'burdens' wife killer

An Afghan refugee convicted a second time of murdering his wife, has asked for a reduced sentence this time around, citing among his reasons that he was burdened by the fact his five children would now have to grow up in foster care.

Soltan Ahmad Azizi was jailed in 2010 for a minimum of 17-and-a-half years for strangling Marzieh Rahimi with her veil at the couple's Hampton Park home in 2007.

The mother of five was killed in front of their three-month-old baby and 22-month-old toddler in what the court heard was an unplanned attack during a fit of rage.

He was aware at the time that his wife wanted to leave him.

Azizi's defence lawyers appealed against his original conviction on the grounds that inadmissible or prejudicial evidence was presented to the jury, including statements made by his wife about previous physical, psychological and emotional abuse.

They also argued that the jury was not given the option of the alternative charge of defensive homicide.

But a second jury found him guilty of murder last month.

At his pre-sentence plea hearing before Justice Stephen Kaye today, defence barrister Julian McMahon said a lower jail term was warranted this time, considering significant differences in the nature of evidence presented at the two trials.

He said no evidence was presented at the retrial which suggested Azizi had been violent or abusive towards his wife before he killed her.

"The case against him was of a harsher nature and more condemnatory manner than in the second trial," Mr McMahon said.

He also argued among his reasons for a lighter sentence that Azizi was the only Afghan prisoner at Barwon, where he was likely to return to serve his sentence, which would make his jail time more onerous.

The fact that his five children would have to grow up in foster care while he was in jail over their mother's death was also a "very great burden for a father to carry", Ms McMahon said.

But prosecutor Michele Williams, SC, argued that Azizi should receive the same sentence handed down last time.

She submitted that if the murder was the result of unexplained violence, then Justice Kaye should accept that Azizi was a man who had not accepted responsibility for his actions.

"The children are left without a mother for one simple fact: he killed her," she said.

"He murdered her ... She wanted to leave him and he knew it and he killed her in an explosion of rage."

Justice Kaye will sentence Azizi on a date to be fixed.

This story Children in foster care 'burdens' wife killer first appeared on The Age.