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Reform: Lawyers respond to one-punch homicide laws

Briefs

Cite as: September 2015 89 (9) LIJ, p.10

Some Victorian lawyers will be interviewed about one-punch laws as part of an investigation by criminologist Dr Kate Fitz-Gibbon.

The Deakin academic has received a $24,000 grant from the Legal Services Board to examine legal responses to one-punch homicide.

Dr Fitz-Gibbon, an expert on homicide law reform, will study 10 years (2004-2014) of one-punch homicide cases in Victoria to produce the first comprehensive statewide analysis of legal responses before the introduction of mandatory sentencing laws for coward’s punch manslaughter in September 2014.

Now, a person convicted of coward’s punch manslaughter will be liable to a mandatory minimum non-parole period of 10 years imprisonment.

“As a result of this mandatory sentencing approach, judges in Victoria have had their hands tied when it comes to the sentencing of one-punch homicide cases,” Dr Fitz-Gibbon said.

“This project will examine legal practitioners’ views of current practices, the 2014 reforms and any future needs for reform.”

The 12-month project begins this month with the final report to be released in August 2016.

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