Two stories from the same newspaper on the same day, and quite related. I am not sure which to begin with to make my point strongly.
The state government has removed the power of judges to decide how long a person convicted of a 'one punch' killing should go to gaol. Removing such power from judges is a very serious matter. A one punch killing is simply described as when someone is hit by surprise and is either killed or falls down and perhaps hits their head a dies. I am of the opinion that at times the offence should attract more than the government's stipulated ten year gaol term, and possibly at times less, depending on the circumstances.
The judge sits through the trial and hears all the details and circumstances and should be best placed to judge what sentence is appropriate.
But are their sentences appropriate? Many, including me, think quite often they are not.
Which brings me to the second story from the newspaper. Peter Ross Cramer smashed a beer glass over the head of a 'mate'. The man received serious damage to his eye and has some permanent damage. So what do you think the penalty might be for the person convicted of the assault? It was a community service corrections order. No gaol term.
So judges giving low sentences, judged by the public opinion, has brought the populist government (and which aren't) on to make the fixed term sentence for a one punch killing. Meanwhile judges continue to impose low sentences for appalling crimes. After I began this post, this came to my attention and I quote from the Bendigo Advertiser.
"A WOODVALE poultry farmer who left more than 4500 chickens to die (that is starve to death) has received a $3000 fine and no conviction."
Judges can look forward to more prescribed sentences and their sentencing powers reduced unless they hand out more appropriate sentences.