Sentences please murder victim’s family

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The family of slain Elderslie dairy farm worker Justin McFarlane is delighted with the sentences handed down to the four men found guilty of his brutal murder in 2013.

At the Dunedin High Court on Friday, Steven Kenneth Boskell, 20, of Palmerston and Ryan Warren Geary-Smart, 24, and Robert James Cummings, 23, both of Oamaru, were sentenced to a minimum of 18 years in prison for the murder of Justin Conrad McFarlane at his house in September 2013.

Jacob Christopher Geary-Smart, 23, also of Oamaru, was sentenced to a minimum of 17 years in prison for the same crime.

The men were found guilty following a nine-week trial and two days of jury deliberations.

Stephanie Rose McCormack, 27, was found guilty late last year to being an accessory after the fact of murder. She received eight months’ home detention.

Mr McFarlane’s sister, Kim Julius, was in the courtroom when the men’s jail terms were delivered and said the family was happy with the lengths of the sentences imposed.

“We are pleased with the sentences. We were hoping for long sentences and that’s what we’ve got. We are all pleased with the outcome.”

She said the family’s mood was one of relief and praised police for their efforts in bringing the group to justice.

“The police did an absolutely fantastic job.”

Emotions boiled over when the five were lead form the courtroom, when Mr McFarlane’s supporters yelled “bye”, among other things.

Ryan Geary-Smart faced the group and replied “F*** you, f*** the world”.

Mrs Julius said his reaction showed he had no remorse for his actions.

Mr McFarlane was found dead in his Elderslie home after he was beaten to death in the early hours of September 11, 2013.

The group planned to steal a quantity of cannabis and a motorbike from Mr McFarlane.

According to evidence presented at the trial, the group tied him up with an electrical cord, covered him with a sheet and then beat him with a fire poker, golf club and a beer bottle. He was also stomped on.

A postmortem examination found Mr McFarlane suffered 11 blunt-force injuries to his head, three fractures to his faces and other injuries.