BRISBANE, Australia (AP) - Australian prosecutors said Thursday
they will appeal for stronger punishment for an American man who
was sentenced to serve one year in prison for manslaughter in the
death of his wife during a honeymoon scuba diving trip.
David Gabriel Watson, of Birmingham, Alabama, was sentenced
earlier this month to serve one year of a four-and-a-half year
sentence for the 2003 death of his wife during a trip to
Australia's Great Barrier Reef.
He was to stand trial in the Queensland state Supreme Court for
murder, which carried a potential sentence of life in prison, until
the prosecution accepted the guilty plea to the lesser charge.
"I have formed the view that this sentence is manifestly
inadequate and the state will therefore lodge an appeal against the
sentence in the Queensland Court of Appeal," Queensland Attorney
General Cameron Dick told state parliament Thursday.
Christina Mae Watson, married just 11 days, drowned while diving
with her husband on the Great Barrier Reef. Her body was found on
the ocean floor.
Coroner David Glasgow formally charged Watson with murder last
June. Glasgow said it was likely Watson killed his wife by holding
her underwater and turning off her air supply. The coroner said a
possible motive was her modest life insurance policy.
Prosecutors said the manslaughter plea was accepted on the basis
that the 32-year-old Watson - trained to rescue panicked divers -
failed in his duty as her dive buddy by not giving her emergency
oxygen. They said Watson allowed his wife to sink to the ocean
floor without attempting to retrieve her, and he did not inflate
her buoyancy vest or remove weights from her belt.
Watson, an experienced diver, had said in videotaped police
interviews that 26-year-old Christina, a novice diver, started
having trouble a few minutes into their dive. He said he decided to
go for help rather than attempt a rescue himself.
A fellow diver told Glasgow's inquest last year he saw Watson
engaged in an underwater "bear hug" with his petite wife, after
which he headed to the surface while she sank to the ocean floor.
Watson told police his wife knocked his mask off and then sank
too quickly for him to retrieve her.
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