Saturday, August 16, 2014

Community Safety Deaths Fatalities One-Punch now equals 10 years Jail under new Victorian Laws Sunday Herald Sun Editorial August 17th 2014




"More than 90 Australians have died in single-punch assaults since 2000."

"Monash University researchers found that alcohol was involved in almost three-quarters of cases, with deaths caused by the initial force of the blow or the trauma of the skull hitting the pavement."

"The 10-year sentence under the new Victorian law will apply whether the death is caused by the punch, or by the person striking their head as they fall."


"The new regime will see anyone who punches or strikes someone in the head without warning, causing their death, guilty of manslaughter with a 10-year statutory minimum non-parole period."



One punch now equals 10 years

ONE punch, one moment of inexcusable thuggery, is all it takes to end a life and destroy two families. And Victorians have had enough.
The State Government will this week reveal new laws — the toughest anti-violence crackdown in Australia — that will see one-punch killers spend at least 10 years in jail.
The Sunday Herald Sun has been campaigning for this tough stance against alcohol and drug-fuelled violence since 2007, following the death of Shannon McCormack.
The 22-year-old was leaving a city nightclub with friends when he was punched as he tried to break up a fight. The blow caused him to hit his head on a wall and the footpath, and he died in hospital a week later.
Witnesses told the inquest that Shannon’s attacker took a run-up from behind and punched him to the side of the head.
No warning. No reason. No chance to defend himself.
More than 90 Australians have died in single-punch assaults since 2000.
Monash University researchers found that alcohol was involved in almost three-quarters of cases, with deaths caused by the initial force of the blow or the trauma of the skull hitting the pavement.
But we cannot forget the bigger and unknown number of young men who did not die from their injuries, and are instead left with lifelong brain damage.
Robbed of the ability to perform basic functions such as walking and talking, many of these men and teenagers will end up in nursing homes while still in their 20s.
Seven years after former law student James Macready-Bryan was king hit on his 20th birthday, he has just learned to smile again but still cannot communicate.
The new laws, which aim to deter young men from throwing that one punch, have been welcomed by families who have lost loved ones to drunken violence, including Caterina Politi. Her son, David Cassai, 22, was allegedly killed by a single blow on New Year’s Eve 2012.
Since his death she has led the campaign “STOP. One Punch Can Kill”, collecting more than 11,000 signatures to push for the State Government to legislate for mandatory minimum prison terms for these types of crimes.
“Surely it is a basic human right for any person to walk down the street and not be ambushed, hurt or killed?” Ms Politi told the Sunday Herald Sun.
Western Australia has had “one-punch laws” since 2008, and the Northern Territory since 2012. In January, NSW brought in a mandatory eight-year prison term for drunk offenders who hit and kill someone.
The law was brought in after the public outcry at the minimum four-year jail term received by Thomas Kelly’s killer.
The 18-year-old was punched in an unprovoked attack in Sydney’s Kings Cross last year.
Daniel Christie, 18, was also attacked in the same nightclub district last New Year’s Eve. He was left in a critical condition for 11 days before his family decided to turn off his life support.
Some have attacked mandatory jail terms as a kneejerk response, which will do little to tackle the real problem of drink and drug-fuelled violence.
But as Premier Denis Napthine told the Sunday Herald Sun, this 10-year minimum term is about sending a strong message about the consequences from one moment of violence.
Young men must learn that the alcohol-soaked one punch — the coward punch — is not manly. It is not brave or tough. It is not necessary for anyone’s honour, reputation or street cred.
The Sunday Herald Sun believes cowards need to be dealt with using tough measures that the community expects.
A clenched fist is a lethal weapon that can end one life and change many more lives forever.
There is no excuse for such violence.




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