Australians Seek Heavier Punishment for Drunk One-Punch Killers

Australians Seek Heavier Punishment for Drunk One-Punch Killers

By Bryan Le 01/21/14

Following the drunken punch assaults that killed two teenagers in New South Wales, concerned groups are calling for stricter laws on alcohol-related violence.

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Australian state New South Wales is considering stiffer penalties for drunken one punch killings, including a mandatory minimum of eight years (and a maximum of 25 years) in prison for “coward punch” assaults where drugs or alcohol are a factor. These new law proposals come after the killings of Sydney teenagers Daniel Christie, an 18-year-old who was lethally punched while shielding friends by a man who claimed to be a mixed martial arts fighter on New Year's Eve, and Thomas Kelly, a 19-year-old who died in the hospital after a punch knocked him out causing him to take a serious fall. Premier Barry O'Farrell is keen on targeting crimes committed while intoxicated—currently there is no proposed minimum sentence and a 20 year maximum sentence for sober one-punch killings. Proponents of cracking down on drunken violence in NSW are also calling for 1 am lockouts that would disallow people from entering any bar after 1 am.

O'Farrell met with cabinet officials on Monday to present additional proposals that he hopes will stem drunken violence on the streets, including risk-based liquor licensing that would make it more expensive for establishments which serve alcohol to already-intoxicated patrons, or for those larger venues where it is difficult to keep track of how much each customer has been drinking.  He hasn't said much about his other proposals, but he is confident they will be successful: "I'm confident the package being taken to cabinet this afternoon addresses community concerns and will make a difference," O'Farrell says.

See the victim's families react to the new proposed laws below: