Ex-nurse challenges Ballina murder convictions
A FORMER aged-care nurse jailed for injecting two elderly residents with lethal doses of insulin is challenging her murder convictions and sentence which she claims is "manifestly excessive".
Megan Haines was jailed for at least 27 years in December 2016 after being found guilty of murdering Marie Darragh, 82, and Isabella Spencer, 77, in May 2014 at Ballina's St Andrew's Village.
Ms Darragh had complained about Haines refusing to give her a cream to soothe an itch, while Ms Spencer said she had refused to help her reach the toilet.
In setting a maximum of 36 years for the then 49-year-old, Justice Peter Garling said Haines had previously been suspended after complaints about her in Victoria.
"(Her) motive to kill, namely that the victims had made complaints about her, was wholly insufficient and self-centred," the judge said.
"She thought the deaths would appear to be from natural causes, as indeed they initially did."
Haines' grounds of appeal - argued in the NSW Court of Criminal Appeal on Friday - include that the trial judge's summing up was unfair to the defence, that the judge made various legal errors and that her trial barrister, Troy Edwards, failed to take certain steps such as seeking separate trials.
Haines gave evidence in the appeal court saying Mr Edwards put pressure on her to sign a statement relating to a crown witness and to give false evidence at her trial.
But Mr Edwards testified this was "absolutely not true" and the court was told complaints made by Haines to the Legal Services Commissioner were dismissed.
The court will deliver its decision on a future date.