7 Jun 2009

Scuba sentence appeal being considered

8:13 am on 7 June 2009

The Queensland Attorney-General is considering an appeal against the length of a prison sentence imposed on an American man for the death of his wife in 2006.

David Gabriel Watson, 32, was sentenced on Friday to four and a half years in prison, after pleading guilty to the manslaughter of his wife Tina while diving off Townsville in north Queensland.

The sentence will be suspended after 12 months.

In a statement on Saturday, Attorney-General Cameron Dick said he has requested the sentencing remarks, with a view to considering an appeal.

In October 2003, Ms Watson, 26, was on her honeymoon in north Queensland when she and her husband David went diving on Yongala wreck off Townsville. She had problems breathing.

The court heard her husband did nothing to help despite holding a dive search and rescue certificate.

Watson said he panicked and surfaced to tell the crew while his wife sank to the ocean floor.

The ABC reports he voluntarily returned to Queensland last month, indicating he was prepared to face a murder charge.

However, the prosecution accepted his guilty plea to the lesser charge of manslaughter.

Defence lawyer Stephen Zillman argued that investigators had all the evidence they needed to charge Watson six years ago when his wife died.

Justice Peter Lyons said Watson was responsible for his wife's death.

He failed to make any reasonable attempt to take Ms Watson to the surface.