This article was first published in the Sydney Morning Herald on 21 April 2014.
Following last week’s resignation of Barry O’Farrell and the appointment of Mike Baird as premier, it is now time to get back to the key criminal justice issue in NSW: the prevention of alcohol-fuelled violence.
In late January, under O’Farrell’s leadership, the NSW government introduced reforms targeted at improving the law’s response to alcohol and drug-fuelled violence. They were intended to address significant community disquiet after last year’s guilty plea and sentencing of Kieran Loveridge for the manslaughter of 18-year-old Thomas Kelly. O’Farrell’s ”alcohol and drug-fuelled violence initiative” was targeted at improving perceived inadequacies in the law’s response to Kelly’s death, and the one-punch homicide of Daniel Christie last New Year’s Eve.
The reforms included the creation of a new homicide offence designed specifically to cater to this context of lethal violence and the introduction of mandatory minimum sentences for serious assaults involving drugs and alcohol. Also included were initiatives targeted at removing the opportunity for alcohol-fuelled violence in late night Sydney, such as 1:30am lockouts, 3am last drinks and precinct bans.
Read the full article on the Sydney Morning Herald website here.