The family of slain Gold Coast detective Damian Leeding will have to wait to learn how long his killers will spend in jail.
But if prosecutors get their way, the man who gunned the detective down will be locked up far longer than the minimum 15 years he’s facing.
The detective’s killers Phillip Graeme Abell, 41, and Donna Lee McAvoy, 39, fronted the Queensland Supreme Court on Friday where they were due to be sentenced.
At the same time another Gold Coast police officer was recovering in hospital after being shot in eerily similar circumstances to Detective Senior Constable Leeding.
Members of Sen-Const Leeding’s family, police and other supporters packed the courtroom expectantly on Friday.
Some sighed with disappointment when it became clear the hearing was to be adjourned at the request of Abell and McAvoy’s lawyers.
Abell’s barrister Jeff Hunter told the judge he’d been caught off guard by the magnitude of the sentence prosecutors were seeking.
It was five to 10 years longer than he’d been expecting.
Crown prosecutor Todd Fuller did not oppose the request for more time.
“I accept that the Crown is asking for significantly harsher sentences than have previously been imposed in this court,” he said.
Gunman Abell and accomplice McAvoy are facing a minimum of 15 years’ prison without parole for murder.
The judge can set a longer non-parole period if he chooses.
The court also heard Abell is awaiting sentencing for another armed robbery, and McAvoy is facing trial for a different alleged crime.
Lawyers want these cases finalised first because they could affect the murder sentences.
Mr Hunter also tendered an apology to the judge from Abell, who raised his middle finger to the judge after he and McAvoy were found guilty of murder on Monday.
Abell’s sentencing was adjourned until next month, and McAvoy’s put off to a date to be fixed.
Another accomplice Benjamin Ernest Power, 39, has pleaded guilty to manslaughter and will also be sentenced at a later date.
Sen-Const Leeding, 35, was blasted in the face with a shotgun after he was called to an armed robbery at the Pacific Pines Tavern on May 29, 2011.
The husband and father-of-two died in hospital three days later when his life support was turned off.
The hearing came on the same day Gold Coast dog squad chief Sergeant Gary Hamrey was shot as he investigated an armed holdup.
Sgt Hamrey was involved in the Leeding investigation and gave evidence during Abell and McAvoy’s trial.
He was shot at Arundel Tavern, about 4km from where Sen-Const Leeding was shot.
Like the late detective, he was shot in the face without warning.
But police have said Sgt Hamrey will recover.