A Sri Lankan doctor in Australia, who was found guilty of the manslaughter of her abusive husband, has lodged an appeal against her conviction, the West Australian reported.
On February 22, Dr. Chamari Liyanage was acquitted of murdering her doctor husband Dinendra Athukorala in Geraldton in June 2014 while he slept, but was found guilty of the lesser charge of manslaughter.
Supreme Court Justice Stephen Hall sentenced Liyanage to four years jail and made her eligible for parole. With time already served, she could be released from prison in June.
Since the 36-year-old is not an Australian citizen, she is facing deportation at the end of her sentence.
The appeal was lodged on Monday, but Liyanage's lawyer George Giudice said it wouldn’t be heard for months, as the defence and prosecution still needed to make submissions for the appeal.
He said the appeal would oppose his client’s conviction, and if she was acquitted, she would be unlikely to face deportation.
“I can’t see any reason they would have to deport her if she was acquitted and if they did we would certainly be opposing it,” he said.
Liyanage gained public sympathy as the sordid details of her husband’s abuse were revealed during the trial in Geraldton.
A petition started by a former workmate of Liyanage’s is being circulated calling on Minister for Immigration and Border Protection Peter Dutton to allow her to remain in Australia when she is released from jail.
A spokesperson for the Department Immigration and Border Protection said the department was aware of the case, but was not able to discuss specific details.
“We can confirm that the Australian Government takes very seriously its responsibility to protect the Australian community from the risk of harm posed by non-citizens who engage in criminal conduct or behaviour of concern. Each case will be assessed on its individual merits,” the spokesperson said.