Thomas Kelly (6 January 1994 – 9 July 2012)[1] was an eighteen-year-old male from Sydney, Australia, who was the victim of a random one-punch assault as he walked down Victoria Street in Kings Cross, New South Wales, on 7 July 2012.[2] Kelly was taken to St. Vincent's Hospital with serious head injuries and remained in intensive care for two days.[2] He never regained consciousness, and died at 7:59pm on 9 July 2012. His attacker, nineteen year old Kieran Loveridge, was charged and convicted of manslaughter in 2014.[2][3]

Kelly's death caused public outrage and received widespread media coverage.[4] The case helped initiate legal reforms to New South Wales drinking laws, which saw the introduction of mandatory sentencing and lockout laws in 2014.[4][5] These changes have been criticised by legal experts and members of the public, who believe they will not be effective deterrents and may impact Sydney's nightlife economy.[5]

Incident edit

Kings Cross at night

On 7 July 2012, Kelly was on a night out with his girlfriend and another female companion. At 10:03pm the group passed the Mercure Hotel when a drunken Kieran Loveridge stepped out and punched the head of Kelly as he spoke on a mobile phone.[6]

Loveridge struck Kelly near the nose area which forced him to fall backwards and collide with the pavement, knocking him unconscious. The two young men were unknown to one another, and the attack was unprovoked and random. The impact of the concrete on Kelly's skull inflicted a fatal fracture and subsequent brain trauma. Immediately following the assault, Kelly became limp and comatose as a pool of blood formed around him.[6]

Shortly after the incident a witness observed Loveridge fleeing in the direction of the Victoria Street and Darlinghurst intersection.[6] A second witness stated that Loveridge appeared "angry and possibly intoxicated".[6]

At about 10:10pm, paramedics responded to a call that a young male had been punched and was now unresponsive on Victoria Street in Sydney. They arrived on the scene seven minutes after the attack occurred, with one paramedic describing Kelly's condition as ‘’severe and life threatening’’.[6] He was fixed with a spinal collar and transferred to a stretcher before being taken to St. Vincent's Hospital by ambulance at 10:33pm.[citation needed] Hospital staff intubated and ventilated the heavily unconscious Kelly, where he then underwent emergency surgery after a cranial scan uncovered acute hemorrhaging and a severe skull fracture. Kelly was placed in the Intensive Care Unit for two days until his family consented to switching off his life support.[citation needed]

Preceding the attack, Loveridge had been involved in a string of other violent and aggressive altercations. At about 7:30pm, Loveridge and his friends arrived at the Star City Casino, having already consumed a substantial amount of alcohol.[6] The group then traveled to the Cargo Bar in Darling Harbour where security denied them entry. The five males were then admitted to another bar where more alcohol was consumed.[citation needed] Following this, the group took a taxi to Brougham Street in Kings Cross, where they continued to move between nightclubs.[citation needed]

At about 9:45pm, Loveridge appeared to become agitated and on edge. The first assault took place at 10:00pm as Marco Compagnoni walked along Victoria Street with other companions.[6] The two males were complete strangers and as they approached one another Loveridge proceeded to elbow Compagnoni on the left eye which lacerated the skin and drew blood. This encounter occurred shortly before and near the area where Kelly was attacked. At 10:15pm, soon after the assault on Kelly, David Nofoaluma arrived on Bayswater Road outside The Club, where he attempted to greet a disgruntled Loveridge.[6] Loveridge commenced to swing at Nofoaluma's head, before being restrained by another companion and then apologising. Loveridge then stated, "I swear I'm going to bash someone tonight".[6]

Over the remainder of the evening, Loveridge assaulted three other males: Matthew Serrao, Rhyse Saliba and Aden Gazi.[6] All three victims were unknown to Loveridge prior to the attacks. Loveridge was on conditional bail at the time of the assaults.

Court proceedings edit

Loveridge made several comments regarding the death of Kelly in the days following the attack. On 8 July 2012, a news story on Kelly's condition was broadcast on television, to which Loveridge appeared worried, asking "was that one of my fights? I don't know".[6] He also expressed concern over whether he matched the description of the offender's appearance. On 12 July 2012, Loveridge confided in the coach of his rugby league team, making statements such as "I don't remember what happened that night, it could have been me. I was drunk".[6]

Arrest edit

On 18 July 2012, police arrested Loveridge at the Belmore Sports Ground at 7:20pm.[6] He was charged with the murder of Kelly at the Campsie police station. In March 2013, representatives of Loveridge offered a guilty plea to manslaughter and four counts of assault if the charge of murder was revoked. After deliberation, the Director of Public Prosecutions accepted the deal and Loveridge was committed to the Central Local Court for sentencing before being submitted to the Supreme Court on 6 September 2013.[6]

Trial edit

Loveridge pleaded guilty to all counts he was charged with and the trial went directly to sentencing. The judge considered both aggravating and mitigating factors when deciding on a penalty. Loveridge's previous criminal record, the unprovoked nature of the attacks and drunken conduct were deemed as aggravating the circumstances of the crime.[6] Loveridge's disadvantaged background, remorse and prospects for rehabilitation were considered as a point of leniency.[6] Loveridge received a 25% sentencing discount for pleading guilty.

At the conclusion of the hearing, the judge sentenced Loveridge to a total of seven years and two months, with parole eligibility after five years and two months.[6] The sentences for the four other assaults amounted to a fixed term of eighteen months imprisonment. The individual sentence for the death of Thomas Kelly consisted of a non-parole period of four years, with an additional two-year term.[6] Loveridge would be eligible for release on parole on 18 November 2017.[6]

The initial sentence was met with frustration from Kelly's parents, who branded the punishment "an absolute joke".[7] Loveridge was remanded in custody up until the lodging of an appeal in 2014 by the Director of Public Prosecutions.

Appeal edit

In response to public outcry, the original sentence was appealed in 2014 by the Director of Public Prosecutions on behalf of the Crown.[8] The appeal contended that the original sentence was "manifestly inadequate"[6] and failed to consider the need for general deterrence. Other grounds of the appeal included errors in the examination and classification of Loveridge's crimes. A hearing was held in the NSW Court of Criminal Appeal on 7 May 2014, and was conducted by a three-judge panel led by Chief Justice Thomas Bathurst.[citation needed] The hearing found several errors in the original sentence imposed by Justice Campbell. The Crown overturned the previous legal ruling to uphold the grounds of the appeal and re-sentenced Loveridge for all five of his offences. He was handed down a seven-year non-parole internment for the death of Kelly, while the overall penalty was increased to a minimum term of ten years and two months. He will be eligible for parole on 18 November 2022.[needs update] In reasoning the outcomes of the appeal, the judges issued a statement:

"The use of lethal force against a vulnerable, unsuspecting and innocent victim on a public street in the course of alcohol-fuelled aggression … called for express and demonstrable application of the element of general deterrence as a powerful factor on sentence in this case".[6]

These outcomes were met with relief from Kelly's family. At the conclusion of the appeal, Kathy Kelly stated "at last we can focus on our family and on the memory of our son, rather than on the whole court process".[9] Loveridge is currently serving his sentence in the Silverwater Correctional Complex, where he has since been involved in a brawl with another inmate. He was charged with affray and referred to the Burwood Local Court.[10]

Reforms edit

There was widespread community backlash at the death of Kelly and NSW drinking laws came under heavy scrutiny. The death of Daniel Christie in 2014 also contributed to growing demand for law reform. In response to mounting pressure, the NSW government committed to introducing "one-punch" laws to regulate and deter alcohol-fueled violence.[4][11] On the 5 February 2014, the government passed the Crimes and Other Legislation Amendment (Assault and Intoxication) Bill 2014 (NSW). The legislation introduced a minimum eight-year sentence for alcohol-related assaults causing death, 10:00pm closing times for bottle shops and 1:30am lockouts and 3:00am closing times for all licensed venues within the CBD and Kings Cross. These changes exempted the Star Casino, which has one of the highest violence rates in Sydney.[12] Police were also given the power to search any persons suspected of committing a drug or alcohol-fueled offence. Barry O'Farrell, the NSW Premier at the time, said of the reforms "I'm confident that the package that cabinet approved yesterday will make the difference and start the change that the community seeks to have implemented".[13] Those in support of mandatory sentencing argue that it provides legal consistency, incapacitation and general deterrence.[14]

Since 2014, there has been a 26% reduction in alcohol-fueled violence in lockout zones.[15] However this has coincided with a 17% increase in assaults outside these areas.[16]

In 2016, the NSW government declared that it would be adjusting lockout laws for live music venues by half an hour.

In May 2019, the NSW parliamentary committee announced it would review Sydney's lockout laws.[17] The commission will determine if the laws require maintenance in order to balance both a safe city and the need for a nighttime economy.[17] Premier Gladys Berejiklian said of the review, "after five years of operation, it makes sense for us to now take stock and examine whether any further changes should be made".

Opposition to law reform edit

These legislative changes were met with skepticism by some legal experts. Mandatory sentencing was accused of minimising judicial discretion and impacting on the sentencing process.[18] Those in opposition argue that compulsory sentences deny offenders the right to equality by removing proportionate punishment.[4][6] Phillip Boulten, President of the NSW Bar Association, said of the new laws "it isn't effective, it's not a deterrent, it just leads to more people being locked up for no good purpose".[5]

There has been strong opposition to lockout laws, particularly from owners of nightclubs and pubs in Sydney's CBD and Kings Cross.The reforms have been criticised for attempting to reduce violence by restricting the liberties of law-abiding individuals.[5] The Australian Hotels Association claimed that stricter laws will impact on nighttime economy in the Sydney area.[5] Since the introduction of these reforms, several bars and nightclubs have closed with owners blaming lockout laws for damaging the nightlife industry.[19] On September 5, 2015, a collective of 1000 members from Reclaim the Streets protested lockout laws. The group claimed that harsher legislation had not reduced alcohol-fueled violence but rather forced it into neighboring suburbs, such as Newtown.[20]

In October 2015, Keep Sydney Open organised a protest attended by 15,000 people in opposition to lockout laws.[21] A second rally was organised in 2016, and was attended by 4,000 people.[22] A third rally was planned for 2017 but was then shut down by police.[23]

See also edit

References edit

  1. ^ "Pin on My interest". Pinterest.
  2. ^ a b c Library, LIAC. "Research Guides: LIAC Crime Library: R v Loveridge - manslaughter by an unlawful and dangerous act". Archived from the original on 14 June 2019. Retrieved 4 May 2019.
  3. ^ Ralston, Rachel Olding, Lisa Davies, Nick (19 July 2012). "Teen accused of killing Thomas Kelly went on crime spree: police". The Sydney Morning Herald.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  4. ^ a b c d "Law Reform: Mandatory Sentences in NSW 2014". Rule of Law Institute of Australia. 30 January 2014. Retrieved 4 May 2019.
  5. ^ a b c d e "One-punch mandatory sentences 'a recipe for injustice'". ABC News. 22 January 2014. Retrieved 4 May 2019.
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v R v Loveridge, 4 July 2014, retrieved 4 May 2019
  7. ^ Bibby, Paul (8 November 2013). "Kieran Loveridge's sentence shocking, Thomas Kelly's parents say". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 31 May 2019.
  8. ^ "The Criminal Justice System Works - The Loveridge Appeal Decision". Rule of Law Institute of Australia. 7 July 2014. Retrieved 27 May 2019.
  9. ^ Bibby, Paul (12 December 2014). "Kieran Loveridge fails in High Court Appeal bid over 10-year sentence for killing Thomas Kelly". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 27 May 2019.
  10. ^ Marchese, David (28 March 2018). "Sydney one-punch killer charged over allegedly punching inmate". ABC News. Retrieved 27 May 2019.
  11. ^ Foschia, state political reporter Liz (12 November 2013). "NSW to introduce 'one-punch' laws in wake of Thomas Kelly's death". ABC News. Retrieved 30 May 2019.
  12. ^ Nicholls, Sean (21 April 2015). "Star casino may be the most violent venue but exempt from restrictions". The Sydney Morning Herald. Archived from the original on 20 April 2015. Retrieved 30 May 2019.
  13. ^ Nicholls, Sean (21 January 2014). "Barry O'Farrell announces 'tough' laws to combat alcohol-fuelled violence". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 30 May 2019.
  14. ^ "The Criminal Justice System Works - The Loveridge Appeal Decision". Rule of Law Institute of Australia. 7 July 2014. Retrieved 31 May 2019.
  15. ^ Community Relations Division, freecall 1800 685 449; Justice, NSW Department of. "Alcohol_Related_Violence". Archived from the original on 18 June 2019. Retrieved 30 May 2019.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  16. ^ Whitbourn, Michaela (5 March 2017). "Sydney lockouts: Assaults 'displaced' to suburbs around CBD and Kings Cross". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 30 May 2019.
  17. ^ a b "Sydney's lockout laws to be reviewed as Berejiklian hails success". The Guardian. Australian Associated Press. 28 May 2019. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 30 May 2019.
  18. ^ "Law Reform: Mandatory Sentences in NSW 2014". Rule of Law Institute of Australia. 30 January 2014. Retrieved 30 May 2019.
  19. ^ "Hugo's Lounge in Sydney's Kings Cross forced to close after revenue drop, owner blames lockout laws - ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 10 October 2016. Archived from the original on 10 October 2016. Retrieved 30 May 2019.
  20. ^ Dye, Josh (13 September 2015). "Alcohol-fuelled violence: protesters demand end to city's 'draconian' lockout laws". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 30 May 2019.
  21. ^ Murphy, Damien (9 October 2016). "Keep Sydney Open rally fights for the right to party". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 30 May 2019.
  22. ^ "Keep Sydney Open Announces New Anti-Lockouts Rally". Music Feeds. 16 January 2017. Retrieved 30 May 2019.
  23. ^ "Lockouts case highlights concerns for free speech in NSW". Levitt Robinson Solicitors. 2 February 2017. Retrieved 30 May 2019.