A Gold Coast woman who ‘accidentally’ shot her partner during a drunken night out has learned her fate in court.
A Gold Coast woman who intentionally shot her boyfriend in the back in 2018 – but didn’t mean to kill him – has been jailed and likely faces deportation to New Zealand when released from prison.
The Queensland Supreme Court has heard that Paanice Frauline Lawrence, then 39, took a gun from her adult son’s bedroom and shot and killed his partner, Scott Morrison, a 46-year-old demolition worker , during a tense evening of drinking.
New Zealand-born Ms Lawrence, also known as Paania, and Mr Morrison had been drinking beer together at their home on Waverley St in Southport for several hours between January 2 and 3, 2018 when hostilities between both escalated around 2 a.m. .
Following a series of ‘belittling’, ‘fingery’ and ‘malicious’ remarks from a ‘smug’ Mr Morrison, Ms Lawrence went to her adult son’s bedroom to ask for his help .
Her son and his pregnant partner were asleep, but Ms Lawrence found a shotgun and returned with it to the living room, where Mr Morrison continued to verbally abuse her from another room.
Ms Lawrence – who had asked Mr Morrison to leave – sat with the gun for a while when he gestured for more beer from the kitchen.
She then fired the gun with his back turned, killing him.
Ms Lawrence later told police she was unfamiliar with guns, it was dark and she was drunk and also believed that if she aimed low enough the shot worn on Mr. Morrison’s back would not be fatal.
The court was also told the incident came after numerous incidents of domestic abuse during the six-month relationship, with Ms Lawrence reporting that Mr Morrison had previously hit her on the head and burned her with a cigarette.
“This is my house, he was hitting me all the time, I didn’t want to,” she reportedly told authorities at the time of the shooting.
Judge Paul Freeburn conceded on Friday that while Ms Lawrence had knowingly armed herself and shot the helpless Mr Morrison she had not intended to kill him, although the fact that she remained seated with the gun for a while removed the mitigating aspect of impulsiveness.
However, he also noted that Ms Lawrence called triple-0, did not deny that she had been the one who shot Mr Morrison and stayed with him until paramedics arrived. She had also been extremely cooperative with the police during the investigation.
Also working in his favor was a guilty plea to the manslaughter charge, which was downgraded to murder, as well as a ‘constellation’ of mitigating factors which included mental health issues and exposure. extended to violent relationships in the past.
Ms Lawrence – who appeared in court in Brisbane via video link – was sentenced to nine years in prison.
Considering she has already served four years, that means she is eligible for parole in four to five months.
That said, the court agreed that the 43-year-old New Zealander was likely to face having her Australian visa canceled upon release due to failing the character test.
His children and grandchildren all live in Australia.
In a victim impact statement, a friend of the Morrison family, Nicole McCrae, lamented that the flurry of media coverage of the incident did not reflect Mr Morrison as a human being.
“He was kind and easy going and didn’t like to make too much of a fuss with anything,” she said.
“He wasn’t perfect, but who is?
Ms Lawrence also apologized to Mr Morrison’s family.
“I am truly and sincerely sorry to Scott’s family and friends,” she said.
“I wish it were different.”