21 Sep 2009

Prosecution of killer in home state, over to US - Queensland

6:06 am on 21 September 2009

Queensland deputy premier Paul Lucas says United States authorities must decide whether they want to prosecute a US citizen for killing his wife in north Queensland.

Gabe Watson, 32, pleaded guilty to manslaughter after the death of Tina Watson during a scuba diving trip off Townsville on their honeymoon in 2003.

He was sentenced to four and a half years in prison with a minimum of 12 months behind bars.

On Friday, Queensland's Court of Appeal ruled that Watson must serve a minimum 18 months before he is released on a suspended sentence.

That's been criticised by the victim's family in Alabama.

The ABC reports Alabama attorney-general Troy King says he will consider charging Watson with capital murder, which means he could face the death penalty.

Mr Lucas says the case reflects badly on the justice system in Queensland, but proper processes were followed.