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(AUSTRALIA) JUST IN: Francis Wark, the convicted rapist who received a record jail term for killing missing WA teenager Hayley Dodd more than two decades ago, is once again fighting to clear his name of the crime #AceNewsDesk report

#AceNewsReport – May.09: While the appeal against the sentence has been accepted, a spokesman for the Court of Appeal says the notice relating to Wark’s conviction has not been completed correctly and contains “technical deficiencies”

AUSTRALIA: Francis Wark appeals against conviction and sentence for Hayley Dodd manslaughter: Wark, 65, has lodged paperwork with the WA Court of Appeal saying he wants to appeal against both his conviction and sentence: ABC understands Wark is expected to be given the opportunity to correct the mistakes.

updated 44m ago

Mr Wark wearing a suit and looking down as he walks along.
Francis Wark was sentenced to 18 years in jail for Hayley Dodd’s manslaughter.(ABC News)

In a handwritten notice of appeal, Wark, who gave his address as Hakea prison, said he wanted to appeal against the conviction on the grounds “the verdict was an unsafe and unsatisfactory decision”.

He stated his ground of appeal against his sentence was that “the sentencing judge erred in law by imposing a sentence that was manifestly excessive”.

The notice of appeal also said Wark was not legally represented and that he would be applying for government-funded legal aid.

The 18-year term he received was the longest ever imposed in Western Australia for the crime of manslaughter after Justice Stephen Hall ruled the killing of the teenager was in the worst category of the offence.

Hayley Dodd poses for a photo with her head resting on her right hand.
Hayley Dodd was last seen in July 1999 while walking along a road in WA’s Wheatbelt.(AAP: Australian Missing Persons Register)

Wark was made eligible for parole after 16 years, but if he does not disclose where Hayley Dodd’s body is, he will have to serve the entire term under WA’s “no body, no parole” laws, which were introduced after a campaign started by the teenager’s mother, Margaret.

It is the second time Wark has gone to the Court of Appeal to try to his clear his name.

His first appeal was in 2019 after he was found guilty by a Supreme Court judge of murdering the 17-year-old and sentenced to life with a 21-year-minimum.

That appeal succeeded after it was ruled the trial judge, who heard the case sitting without a jury, had made an error in law by discounting Wark’s claimed alibis.

A smiling Hayley Dodd sits on a bed wearing a light blue school polo shirt.
Hayley Dodd’s body has never been found.(AAP: Australian Missing Persons Register)

However the Court of Appeal ruled Wark should face a retrial.

That took place earlier this year before a jury which found him not guilty of murder, but guilty of the lesser offence of manslaughter.

Unlike the first trial, Wark gave evidence testifying he had nothing to do with Hayley Dodd’s disappearance and denied under oath that he killed her.

The teenager was last seen alive walking along a road in July 1999, near a property Wark owned at the time near Badgingarra in WA’s Wheatbelt region.

He maintained he was shopping in Moora, about 50 kilometres away, at the time the teenager was last seen alive, but the jury rejected his testimony.

A wide shot showing WA Police forensic officers and a man in a hi-vis vest on a rural property inspecting the ground.
Police spent several days at the former property of Francis Wark in April.(ABC News: David Weber)

Hayley Dodd’s body has never been found despite repeated searches of the area — one as late as last week prompted by comments Wark made at his trial about a water tank.

Again nothing was found, but WA Police have vowed never to give up looking for her.

Margaret Dodd and her family have also repeatedly pleaded with Wark to tell them where Hayley is so they can lay her to rest properly.

#AceNewsDesk report ……Published: May.09: 2021:

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