One of NSW's most senior lawyers warns government plans to
bring in tougher penalties to combat lethal 'coward
punches' will not solve the problem.
Former president of the NSW Law Society, Maurie Stack, said the
notion that bringing in new laws to lock offenders up in jail for
longer would stop the unprovoked violent attacks was "complete
The NSW government plans to bring in a new offence of
'unlawful assault causing death' with a maximum penalty of
20 years jail. It removes a legal requirement to prove 'coward
punch' assailants knew the punch would be fatal to secure a
The move comes after outrage over the four years non-parole
sentence given to the one-punch killer of Sydney teenager Thomas
Kelly last year.
"I'm sick of reading in the press that the solution to
the coward punch is to increase the period of imprisonment for the
offender," said Mr Stack, Chairman of Stacks/The Law Firm.
"Does anyone seriously believe that an aggressive young
male fuelled by alcohol and steroids picks up the phone and rings
his lawyer to check the maximum prison sentence before attacking
some innocent passerby? The idea is complete nonsense and at odds
with much of the criminology research that has been published.
"This proposal is peddled by those in the media who attract
an audience by appealing to our base instinct for revenge and
politicians afraid of an electoral backlash and of a huge media
campaign from the liquor industry if they address the real problem
by taking steps to reduce the consumption of liquor by young
"In the long run, the most expensive and least effective
solution is to lock up all the offenders for longer. It costs the
community more than $100,000 per offender per year. It may not
sound like much until you recognise that the Carr government
increased our prison population from about 7,500 to 10,000, which
is about double the rate in Victoria. That's more than a
billion dollars a year not available for hospitals, schools and
roads in NSW.
"We also have to recognise as a community that the problem
will never totally go away. All we can do is take steps to reduce
the problem; effective steps like those taken in Newcastle and some
other rural areas. We need to mount a public campaign to ridicule
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.
Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.
ASIC chairman confirmed that ASIC will continue its tough stance against suspected insider trading.
Some comments from our readers… “The articles are extremely timely and highly applicable” “I often find critical information not available elsewhere” “As in-house counsel, Mondaq’s service is of great value”
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).