A former psychiatrist turned “cold-blooded” killer who murdered a top health chief in a twisted act of revenge will continue to serve his life sentence after a court dismissed his appeal application.
On Thursday, the South Australian Court of Appeal dismissed Jean Eric Gassy’s bid to appeal his life sentence for the 2002 murder of Dr Margaret Tobin – 13 years after he was imprisoned for the crime.
Gassy, who appeared self represented, had asked the court to grant him leave to appeal his non-parole period of 34 years on the basis that prison workers were trying to kill him, and that the water supply in custody was infecting him with a “virus.”
But Justice Mark Livesey in the Court of Appeal disagreed, dismissing all further evidence Gassy submitted as to why he should be released.
In 2002, Gassy, a former Sydney-based psychiatrist, executed a plan to murder Dr Tobin, who was the head of mental health services in South Australia at the time.
Gassy was deregistered in 1997 after being diagnosed with a delusional disorder and for failing to comply with certain conditions on his registration.
Dr Tobin, who was formerly the director of mental health at the Southern Sydney Area Health Service, had requested an evaluation of Gassy, which led him to believe she had been conspiring against him to stop him working as a therapist.
Subsequently, she became the first person on his hit-list, along with five other members of the medical community.
On October 14, 2002 he disguised himself and followed her into the elevator of the SA Health building on Hindmarsh Square in the Adelaide CBD.
As the doors opened and Dr Tobin walked out to her floor, Gassy shot her at close range and left the building, removing his disguise as he left.
Representing himself, Gassy told the Court of Appeal last week that the judge in his murder trial erred in not giving him a more lenient sentence because he didn’t take into account his “positive” attributes.
“At trial, his honour was not aware of positive aspects of my character which should have attracted leniency,” Gassy said.
“I also denied myself the opportunity of being heard on sentencing, and that in effect, I made a legally incompetent decision not to make sentencing submissions.”
He went on to allege that before he was deregistered in 1997, Dr Tobin had “tried to kill him in 1994.”
He further alleged that a woman he had slept with at the time had been sent as an “agent of Tobin” to give him AIDS.
The court dismissed any further evidence Gassy submitted.
Justice Mark Livesey, Justice Sophie David and Justice Laura Stein, in their reasons, stated “none of the proposed grounds of appeal has any merit.”
Gassy, who appeared in court in a green prison tracksuit, was quiet as the court handed down their judgment.
Asked if he had anything to add, Gassy simply replied; “No, your Honour.”