Court urged not to jail genital burner

By Rebecca Brice

Updated Wed Nov 24, 2010 1:00pm AEDT

 urged not to jail woman who burnt husband to death in this house fire

Court urged not to jail woman who burnt husband to death in this house fire at Unley (ABC News)

A court has been urged not to jail a woman who burnt her husband to death in what her lawyer has called a momentary lapse of control.

Rajini Narayan was found guilty of manslaughter for dousing her husband, Satish, in petrol and lighting it with a candle at their home at Unley in Adelaide two years ago.

Defence lawyer Lindy Powell said the woman should be sentenced on the basis that she had planned to burn his penis as a minor circumcision after learning he had been having an affair.

Ms Powell said Narayan did not mean to kill the man but made a split-second mistake after he had insulted her.

"She had indeed what might be called a loveless marriage, a marriage devoid of love and affection," she said.

"It goes without saying that Mrs Narayan was devoted to her husband and family. She is deeply remorseful.

"The nature of this particular case is such that one might think or ask 'What is actually to be served by imprisoning Mrs Narayan?'

"If the fundamental purpose of punishment is protecting society then Mrs Narayan doesn't present any risk whatsoever."

Two of their three children gave evidence for the defence about years of physical abuse family members had suffered at the hands of Mr Narayan.

Daniel, 21, said the household had had a hostile atmosphere.

He told of intervening on one occasion during family violence.

"At that time my father was punching my mother and so I made him stop," he told the court.

Daughter Jessica, 23, said her mother had rejected her pleas to leave her father because of the violence.

"It was so hard living in such a hostile environment I ended up leaving home, she said.

"It was the hardest decision I ever had to make. It was very easy to live with because my life was much better leaving the house."

The prosecution is yet to make submissions on penalty but Mr Narayan's family has called for the maximum sentence.