23 November 2012


In R v Borg [2012] VSC 565 the Supreme Court of Victoria has sentenced a man to 23 years' imprisonment with a 19 year non-parole period for what one friend describes as "a good old-fashioned lipsmacking tabloid headline crime".

Borg had come to the false conclusion that his victim had informed police of the man's hydroponic marijuana cultivation activities. He wasn't happy. Quite soon, neither was his victim

Borg had shot the victim and then dismembered the body and burnt the remains. He then placed the remnants of the body into a tub of acid, disposed of various items in bush land and poured the contents of the tub into the ocean.

Alas, the victim had not been the informant. An anonymous female had informed the police of the marijuana crop via the Crimestoppers line and the man's co-offender made a complete confession which led to the man's arrest.

Lasry J noted that
according to what you told [associate] Spiropoulos, you picked [victim] Peter Rule up from his house and took him out for dinner. After dinner, you took him to a factory occupied by Corey Small in Campbellfield. You told Peter Rule that there was a gun hidden somewhere in the factory and that they should look for it. During the course of the search for the gun which you had described to Peter Rule, you produced the gun and shot him a number of times. You told Spiropoulos that you shot him six times in the head and four times in the chest.
You later rang Spiropoulos and told him to purchase 15 bottles of bleach, some garbage bags and rags which Spiropoulos then did. This was late on a Sunday night. You later directed Spiropoulos to meet you at a factory in Campbellfield owned by Corey Small and to bring the items that Spiropoulos had purchased. 
You and Spiropoulos then spent an hour and a half or more cleaning up at Corey Small’s factory following the killing of Peter Rule. The body of Peter Rule was in the boot of your motor car and you had finished at the factory in Campbellfield you then drove to the factory in Thomastown. By this time is was the early morning of the following day and you instructed Spiropoulos to return to the Thomastown factory the following day and he did so. By the time he arrived you had set about burning the body of Peter Rule to the extent that only ashes were left. During that process a chain saw had been purchased to assist with dismembering Peter Rule’s body. The process of destroying Peter Rule’s body lasted as long as three days. Part of that process also involved placing the remnants of Peter Rule’s body into a black tub and then mixing acid into it. After the process had been completed you and Spiropoulos travelled to the area of the Great Ocean Road in the vicinity of Anglesea and Lorne where various items were disposed of by being concealed in the bush and the contents of the black tub were washed into the ocean. New clothes were purchased in Lorne at a menswear shop which could be linked to both you and Spiropoulos. After returning from that area, there was then cleaning of motor vehicles and later, to conceal any trace of what had happened at the Thomastown factory the floor was washed and repainted.
In conclusion Lasry J commented that -
The murder of Peter Rule was a planned, calculated killing and was particularly callous. You have denied you were involved in the killing and continue to do so. The jury’s verdict means they rejected your denials and so do I. Peter Rule was enticed to a location where you had planned to kill him and you did so. This was a killing with a significant amount of premeditation and planning involved and those factors in themselves make it bad enough. But the brutal degradation of Peter Rule’s body, which I accept was for the purpose of concealing what you had done, was dreadful and is a significant aggravating factor as your counsel properly conceded. 
In addition, this was a killing which occurred for the purpose of preserving your hoped for income from the illegal growing of cannabis. Had it not been for the fact that Michael Spiropoulos could not cope with his own conscience, the whereabouts of Peter Rule’s remains might never have been known. I respectfully agree with the submission made by the prosecutor that this is very serious offending and requires clear denunciation of what you have done. As for deterrence both specific and general, both you and the community needs to be reminded that the law will not tolerate individuals resorting to behaviour involving gross violence like yours to protect expected financial benefits from other illegal activity.