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Criminal Law Consolidation (Assaults Causing Death) Amendment Bill

Second Reading

Adjourned debate on second reading.

(Continued from 24 February 2016.)

The Hon. J.A. DARLEY (00:34): I rise to indicate Advance SA's position on this bill. I understand this bill will see a minimum gaol sentence of eight years imposed against those who cause a death by making physical contact while intoxicated. The bill addresses what is colloquially known as a one-punch attack. The problem we as a community have with alcohol-fuelled violence is alarming. My office undertook research a few months ago and found that, in the last few years, more people have died as a result of being attacked by a person who is impaired by drugs or alcohol than soldiers who have died while serving our country at war. This is disturbing.

The fact that there is a cohort of people out there who think it is okay to attack someone once they have had a few drinks or otherwise is alarming, and I agree with the Hon. Robert Brokenshire that something needs to be done. However, I believe the focus should be on education and early intervention. The government has focused their efforts on this issue and there seems to have been a slight improvement. I hope it is something that will continue over summer when a higher number of people are out and about.

I do not think that mandatory sentencing is the answer. The courts need to have the discretion to impose sentences that they believe are appropriate. These are often complicated matters and applying a broad brush approach can itself lead to injustices. Whilst I acknowledge that there is a problem here, Advance SA believes that preventative measures through mentoring, education and early intervention programs for substance abuse would be much more effective than simply locking people up.


Some rights reserved. Authorised by J. Darley, 109 Grant Ave, Toorak Gardens, SA 5065.