The Victorian ex-husband murdered his wife a week before she was due to testify against him

Adrian Basham doesn’t deserve to serve life in prison for murdering his ex-wife as he poses no threat to the wider community, his new lawyer has argued.

The 46-year-old, who was found guilty by a jury of the murder of his former partner Samantha Fraser in July 2018, is facing judgment in the Supreme Court in Melbourne for another hearing after his previous legal team dropped him.

Basham strangled Fraser with a rope at her home in Cowes, Phillip Island after prosecutors said he was waiting for her and arranged the scene to look like a suicide.

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He had been accused of raping his estranged wife months earlier and Fraser was due to testify against him a week after her murder.

Prosecutors alleged that Basham’s primary motive was to prevent Fraser from speaking against him at a hearing about the alleged rapes. The rape allegations were dropped after Basham was found guilty of murder.

Basham’s new attorney, Dermott Dann KC, said Friday his client continues to plead his innocence, which he says has “limited” him from arguing for Basham.

He said the murder was not an “execution” of Fraser because of her imminent court appearance, arguing that the offense did not fall in the worst category.

Basham didn’t deserve to be sentenced to life in prison because he didn’t pose a threat to the wider community, he said.

Samantha Fraser was found dead at her Phillip Island home. Recognition: 7NEWS

“As determined by the jury, Ms Fraser was the victim of a horrific crime, but the point is that he does not pose an ongoing danger to the wider community, he does not have that history about himself,” Dann told the court.

“We’re not in the very worst category, we’re not at the extreme end.”

He cited Basham’s professional history and submitted references to the court as evidence that he was a “loving father” and “very hardworking”.

Then argued that the murder was not premeditated and that its motive was more complicated than prosecutors had suggested. Basham is jealous, angry at not seeing his children and upset at the breakdown in the relationship, he said.

“Among all these competing motives and conclusions, you cannot be unequivocally convinced that this is a case where a man executed his former wife just to avoid a situation where she testified and would testify at a committal.” said Then.

Judge Lesley Taylor questioned his submission, saying Fraser lived in “pathetic fear” of Basham before her murder.

“She testified against him next week, that has to be relevant, doesn’t it?” she said.

Prosecutor Nanette Rogers SC said while there were many motives, Basham’s primary motive was to prevent Fraser from testifying.

“The schedule here is crucial as it’s seven days away,” she said.

Justice Taylor said she will sentence Basham in the new year.

If you or someone you know has been affected by sexual assault, domestic or family violence, call 1800RESPECT at 1800.737.732 or visit us an emergency, call 000.

If you need help during a crisis, call Lifeline on 13 11 14. For more information about depression, call beyondblue on 1300224636 or speak to your GP, local healthcare professional or someone you trust.

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James Brien

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