MISSING: Rockhampton woman Chantal Barnett
Photo Contributed
MISSING: Rockhampton woman Chantal Barnett Photo Contributed Contributed

Tell us where Chantal Barnett's body is: Justice Crow pleads

Chantal Barnett's father speaks: Glen Barnett speaks about the conclusion of the double-murder trial.
Chantal Barnett's father speaks: Glen Barnett speaks about the conclusion of the double-murder trial.

TWO men convicted of interfering with the corpses of Robert Martinez and Chantal Barnett have been urged by a Supreme court justice to help locate Ms Barnett's remains.

In a surprise move, Ian Robert Armstrong and Daniel George Hong, who had been on trial over the deaths of Mr Martinez and Ms Barnett in 2013, pleaded guilty to two counts each of interfering with a corpse this morning.

 

 

Accused murderers of Rockhampton's Chantal Barnett and Robert Martinez who went missing in 2013, Daniel George Hong, 41, and Ian Robert Armstrong, 31.
Accused murderers of Rockhampton's Chantal Barnett and Robert Martinez who went missing in 2013, Daniel George Hong, 41, and Ian Robert Armstrong, 31. Melanie Plane

Two murder charges, which the pair had pleaded not guilty to on Wednesday, were dismissed.

During sentencing for the interference charges, Justice Graeme Crow pleaded with both men to provide details that would lead to the recovery of Ms Barnett's remains and give her family much needed closure.

Family appeals for help in search for Robert Martinez and Chantal Barnett: Police and family have appealed to the public to share any information about missing people Robert Martinez and Chantal Barnett as two searches intensify.
Family appeals for help in search for Robert Martinez and Chantal Barnett: Police and family have appealed to the public to share any information about missing people Robert Martinez and Chantal Barnett as two searches intensify.

The court heard that Ms Barnett and Mr Martinez were last seen alive on March 2, 2013. Mr Martinez' remains were discovered on October 24, 2014.

A number of witnesses placed Mr Hong at the Park Avenue Hotel on the afternoon of March 2, 2013.

Yesterday Crown Prosecutor Vicki Loury said other witnesses, that had not taken the stand, would have placed Mr Armstrong in North Rockhampton that afternoon.

The court heard throughout the trial various witnesses give accounts where they overheard or were directly spoken to by Mr Hong or Mr Armstrong about Mr Martinez and Ms Barnett given 'hot shots' (lethal doses of illicit drugs) and about disposing of their bodies.

 

 

MISSING: Rockhampton man Robert Martinez
Photo Contributed
MISSING: Rockhampton man Robert Martinez Photo Contributed Contributed

Ms Loury said there was no forensic evidence found linking either Mr Hong or Mr Armstrong to the case and it was still unknown to this day exactly what happened to the two young Rockhampton residents who likely lost their lives on March 2, 2013.

"Put yourself in the position of the Barnett/Martinez family. You've been asked to cooperate and you've refused to do so," Justice Crow said.

"You have a right to silence. You don't have to cooperate.

"But if there's any ... decency in either of you, at some point, you will cooperate. You can't be punished any further. There's no down side.

"At least, with respect to the Barnett family, try and put their minds at rest. You could imagine the torture that they have been through and that they will go through. They've heard some terrible things.

"I want you both to reflect on that."

Justice Crow said the maximum sentence for interfering with a corpse is two years at the time of the pairs death.

It was increased in March 2017 to five years. However, legal requirements meant Justice Crow could only sentence them based on the maximum penalty at the time of the crime.

He sentenced Mr Hong to two years, declaring 937 days served in pre-sentence custody, with immediate unconditional release.

The court heard Mr Armstrong was about to be released on parole for drug trafficking - a charge that came about as a result of the investigation into the disappearance of Ms Barnett and Mr Martinez - when he was charged with two counts of murder and two of interfering with a corpse.

As a result, he only had 378 days pre-sentence custody that was declarable.

Justice Crow ordered Mr Armstrong to 378 days prison with immediate unconditional release.