The jail term handed to a Victorian farmer who stumbled, possibly on an eggplant, and shot a man dead was lenient but not inadequate, the Court of Appeal says.
Angelo Russo was jailed in 2018 for five years after pleading guilty to the manslaughter of David Calandro at a Goulburn Valley farm the previous year.
The Director of Public Prosecutions argued the sentence was manifestly inadequate, but the Court of Appeal on Thursday knocked back its bid to increase it.
Mr Calandro was killed in the driver's seat of his ute in front of his two sons shortly after running over and injuring Russo's dog in February 2017.
Russo put his dog out of its misery and was still holding the shotgun when he approached Mr Calandro's ute.
Sentencing judge, Justice Michael Croucher, said Russo stumbled "possibly on an eggplant", and this caused the barrel of the faulty gun to hit the driver's side window and fire.
Russo had not known the gun was faulty.
Justice Croucher said the circumstances involved "a good deal of bad luck" and jailed Russo for a minimum two-and-a-half-years.
The Court of Appeal on Thursday found the sentence "very lenient".
"We would have imposed a higher sentence and fixed a longer non-parole period. But that is not a proper basis for allowing the Director's appeal," it said.
The court said the "unique circumstances" of the case meant the sentence was not manifestly inadequate.
Justice Croucher was also correct to find Russo's crime to be towards the lower end of the scale, but the appeal judges disagreed it "only just" amounted to manslaughter.
Australian Associated Press