TWO men jailed over a fatal stabbing and kidnapping at One Tree Hill have been refused leave to appeal their sentences.
Benjamin Keith Judge, 30, and Harley James Dix, 29, made the application to the Court of Appeal after they were jailed for three years and four months for the 2019 offending.
Judge and Dix - who each pleaded guilty to charges of kidnapping and intentionally causing injury - argued their jail terms were manifestly excessive.
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But the Court of Appeal refused the application, saying the men did not make out any grounds to appeal.
In early 2019, the two men and another offender Jara Dix planned to kidnap a 19-year-old man, assault him, and leave him tied to a tree in the bush for days over his perceived mistreatment of a family member.
On the night of March 15, Jara Dix and Benjamin Judge took the victim into bushland at One Tree Hill on the pretence of smoking a bong.
Judge's brother, 24-year-old Steven Judge, went as well although he was not part of the plan.
Benjamin Judge had packed a tool box, ropes, chains, a sledgehammer, and tarp in the boot of the car before they left.
Once at One Tree Hill, the four shared a bong before Benjamin Judge tied a chain to a tree.
He then went at the victim with a sledgehammer and dragged him to the ground, where he and his brother assaulted him.
The victim was dragged towards the tree and the assault continued, while Jara Dix yelled out, "You shouldn't have f***ed with the family".
The victim tried to run but Benjamin Judge put him in a choke hold and he started to black out.
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He feared he could die and took out a kitchen knife from his pocket before stabbing Steven Judge, who was on top of him, three times.
The victim ran into the bushes while Jara Dix and Benjamin Judge tried to seek help for Steven Judge. Paramedics were called but he died at the scene.
The kidnapping victim was found hiding in a shed the next day. He suffered multiple abrasions, bruises, and cuts to his head and body.
He was arrested, but police did not charge him over Steven Judge's death.
County Court Judge Patricia Riddell, who sentenced Benjamin Judge and Harley Dix, described the attack as "vigilante behaviour of high order".
As the kidnapping charge was a category two offence, Judge Riddell needed to impose a jail term that was not in combination with a community corrections order unless there were special circumstances.
At the County Court plea hearing, the men's lawyers argued there were special circumstances, as the two offenders were willing to give evidence against another co-accused.
Judge Riddell said the special circumstances were not made out and instead jail terms with non-parole periods were the only appropriate sentences.
Benjamin Judge's counsel told the Court of Appeal the jail term was manifestly excessive because the wrong type of sentence was imposed.
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The lawyer said a combination sentence would have achieved all of the applicable sentencing purposes because Judge had cooperated with police, entered a guilty plea at an early stage, and had good prospects of rehabilitation.
But the appeal judges said it was apparent Judge Riddell had considered all of the relevant factors and rightly determined a corrections order was not appropriate.
Benjamin Judge was refused leave to appeal because no aspect of the ground of appeal was made out.
Harley Dix's counsel told the Court of Appeal his client's sentence was also manifestly excessive and instead could have been dealt with through a combination sentence.
The lawyer said Dix, who had an intellectual disability and mental health issues, had cooperated with police from his first interview.
The lawyer also argued there should not have been parity between the offenders' sentences because Harley Dix did not know weapons would be used and he was not present at the crime scene.
The appeal judges said the parity ground was without merit because Dix knew the victim would be kidnapped and physically hurt.
The appeal judges also rejected the manifestly excessive ground, saying the sentence was appropriate given the seriousness of the offending.
Harley Dix and Benjamin Judge's jail terms of three years and four months, with non-parole periods of 22 months, were upheld.
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