Lawyers for a Melbourne man found guilty of killing his wife 27 years ago, say there has been a "substantial miscarriage of justice".

John Vincent McDonald has lodged an appeal against his 2011 murder conviction at the Victorian Court of Appeal.

Mother of five, Marlene McDonald, vanished form her Reservoir home in 1986. Her body has never been found.

At the trial the main evidence against McDonald was audio of him talking to himself in his car, captured by planted police microphones.

McDonald's lawyer told the court, recordings of him speaking about shallow graves and knowing where Mrs McDonald was buried, were highly prejudicial and the jury should never have heard the tapes.

At the trial, the judge said because no shallow grave had been found, the recording had no real meaning.

The 72-year-old watched the proceedings via video link from prison.

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