Prosecutors challenge Victor Barnard's sentence reduction

Prosecutors in Pine County are challenging an appeals court decision that reduced the sentence of cult leader Victor Barnard.

Barnard was sentenced to 30 years in prison after two women, who were part of his maidens group, said he assaulted them when they were 12 and 13 years old. 

In November, Barnard won his appeal, reducing his sentence to 24 years in prison. 

Now, prosecutors have petitioned the State Supreme Court to review the decision to reduce Barnard's sentence, claiming the ruling has no public benefit and no legal policy benefit. 

“Rather it goes against fundamental fairness and punishes the parties who bargained for an expected result that was accepted by the court,” read the petition. “It also punishes the victims who had gained finality through the legal system.”

Prosecutors expect a decision on their appeal in about six weeks.