SEVEN people have been charged with fatal coward punches under the state’s tough new laws, with four of them facing a mandatory jail term of eight years if convicted, because they were allegedly drunk.
They include a son who police claim hit his father in the head after an afternoon’s drinking, and a man who allegedly knocked his partner unconscious in their bedroom.
Both victims died.
In another case, a male nurse died after he was allegedly struck once in the face outside a 21st birthday party as he tried to intervene in an argument between his alleged killer and the man’s girlfriend.
The controversial laws were introduced two years ago to curb alcohol-fuelled violence after the fatal one-punch attacks on teenagers Thomas Kelly and Daniel Christie in Kings Cross.
The death that sparked a change: Tom Kelly was coward-punched in King’s Cross.
Acting Premier Troy Grant yesterday said the government stood behind the tough laws, which were introduced because the courts were not prepared to hand down the sentences the community expected.
“Using your advantage of strength to coward punch someone will not be tolerated in NSW,” Mr Grant said.
“For individuals who have been charged that is a matter for the courts. The NSW government stands by our strengthened penalties.”
The Director of Public Prosecutions has confirmed the seven cases are all in progress, although none has been concluded.
Under Section 25b of the Crimes Act, anyone convicted of fatally punching someone while intoxicated must be jailed for at least eight years, with a maximum of 25 years.
If the offender is not drunk, they face a maximum of 20 years, with no mandatory minimum term.
Juries who acquit a defendant of murder or manslaughter can also bring in a guilty verdict on the new charges.
Thomas Kelly’s father, Ralph Kelly, yesterday welcomed the use of the new laws.
“Some drunks become violent, some tell jokes, some fall asleep. I believe that if you know you are a person that becomes violent, then you shouldn’t drink”
“We still have murder and manslaughter and the new laws are really there to make people think about what they are doing, as an education, and I think that is particularly important,” Mr Kelly said.
“To be honest, I’m of the opinion that people don’t just become violent when they are drunk, it is inherent in them.
“Some drunks become violent, some tell jokes, some fall asleep. I believe that if you know you are a person that becomes violent, then you shouldn’t drink.”
The laws followed community outrage after Thomas’s killer, Kieran Loveridge, was jailed for a minimum of just four months for manslaughter, which was doubled on appeal.
Mr Kelly said the tough laws were a start, but behavioural change would only happen through education and awareness campaigns, such as those that targeted smoking.
Glenn Canning, 45, with his grandchildren. He was killed in August last year.
Alan Canning, whose son Glenn, 45, was allegedly killed by a punch in August last year, said the family never thought this would happen to them.
“It’s devastating,” Mr Canning, 75, said.
“Violence is rampant. I don’t know what’s wrong with people. There are some very cranky people around.”
A NSW Police spokeswoman said each case was looked at individually to decide on the appropriate charge.
“Essentially, there are a number of different charges that could be laid and each case would depend on its own particular circumstances and the available admissible evidence,” she said.
“Prosecutors have suggested the mandatory sentencing under the one-punch legislation is what sets it apart from any other available charge.”
The man can be seen balling his hands to fists just before he launches his attack.
The man in the blue shirt falls instantly to the ground after being hit in the head.
THIS horrifying footage (see top of article) of a one-punch attack on a man outside a convenience store in Canberra on New Year’s Day was released by police yesterday in the hope of finding the attacker.
The strategy worked when, late yesterday, a Braddon man in his 20s handed himself in to police.
The CCTV images show the victim in conversation with a man early on New Year’s Day when a third man approaches from the side and punches him in the head.
The victim fell to the ground unconscious and was rushed to hospital for emergency surgery.
Constable Jarrad Drennan said it was a “miracle” the victim wasn’t killed.
Seven people have been charged over fatal attacks in the two years since the one-punch laws came into force on January 31, 2014
1. A 43-year-old man was charged with assault causing death while intoxicated after allegedly punching a friend, aged 54, while drinking with mates at a home in Waratah near Newcastle on February 10, 2014. The victim died in hospital a few days later.
2. Hugh Bacalla Garth, 21, of Blacktown was charged with assault causing death while intoxicted after allegedly hitting nurse Raynor Manalad, 21, once in the head outside a 21st birthday party at Rupertswood Rd in Rooty Hill on May 3, 2014. Mr Manalad died later in Westmead Hospital.
3. A 37-year-old man was charged with assault causing death while intoxicated after a fight in Tamworth in May 2015. A 52-year-old man was hit in the head but refused treatment until the next day, when he went to hospital and was diagnosed with serious internal injuries. He died a few hours later.
4. A 58-year-old man was charged with assault causing death after a 65-year-old man was found unconscious at Dickson Ave, Artarmon, on September 3, 2014. The victim, who did know his attacker, died later at Royal North Shore Hospital.
5. Dario Domio, 46, of Bambil Crescent, Dapto, was rushed to Wollongong Hospital unconscious and with bleeding on his brain after an alleged argument with his son, Matthew Domio, 30 on May 24, 2015. He died two days later from head injuries. Matthew was charged with assault causing death while intoxicated.
6. A 31-year-old man was charged with assault causing death after his partner, a 32-year-old woman, was found dead at a house in Gundingbo Ave in Tabulam in June 2014.
7. Glenn Canning, 45, was at work at Crawfords Freightlines in Newcastle when he was allegedly punched by work colleague Geoffrey Strong, 44 (above) from Warabrook, during an argument on August 4, 2015. Mr Canning, who was a grandfather, died at the scene and Strong was later charged with assault causing death.
January 9, 2016 8:30am
JANET FIFE-YEOMANSThe Daily Telegraph