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SA men win High Court appeal over murder

AAP logoAAP 24/08/2016 Michael Ramsey

Three men jailed for life over the murder of an Adelaide father will have their case reviewed again after a ruling by Australia's highest court.

Johnas Jerome Presley, Everard John Miller and Wayne Douglas Smith were jailed for at least 20 years after being found guilty of murder by an SA Supreme Court jury for their participation in the December 2012 killing of 49-year-old Clifford Hall.

Mr Hall was fatally stabbed by Joshua Betts, who was also convicted of murder, after the victim and his friend became involved in a violent altercation with the four men in a laneway in Adelaide's northern suburbs.

It was open to the jury to find Presley, Miller and Smith each liable for the murder on the basis that they agreed to commit an assault despite knowing one of the party might kill or inflict serious injury on their victim.

The three men unsuccessfully argued before the SA Court of Criminal Appeal that prosecutors had failed to consider whether they were too intoxicated to have known the assault could lead to murder.

But the High Court on Wednesday sent the matter back to the lower court, ruling it had not sufficiently reviewed the evidence in dismissing the appeals.

The majority ruling means the lower court must re-assess whether the verdicts against the men were unreasonable and could not be supported by the evidence.

During sentencing, SA Supreme Court Justice Tim Stanley described Mr Hall's murder as a "grossly disproportionate" response by the four Aboriginal men to an earlier altercation, in which Hall racially abused Betts after he urinated on a fence.

The group were armed with weapons including a knife, a baseball bat and a shovel when they returned to confront Mr Hall and his friend.

Justice Stanley said he accepted the hurt caused by racial abuse but there was no justification for the "senseless violence" inflicted.

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