News National Ten years for coward punches

Ten years for coward punches

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Tough new Victorian laws that would jail so-called coward punch killers for at least 10 years have come into force.

The median sentence for murder will also increase by five years to 25 and that for large-scale drug trafficking will double to 14 under reforms rolled out over the weekend.

Attorney-General Robert Clark said the new laws would work to better protect the community and hold offenders to account.

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“These reforms will see violent offenders spend longer in jail and make it harder for criminals to profit from their crimes,” he said in a statement on Saturday.

“Murderers will also no longer be able to hide behind trumped-up excuses to escape justice.”

Coward punch killers, that is anyone who fatally hits an unsuspecting victim to the head, will be guilty of manslaughter and liable to a minimum non-parole jail term of 10 years.

The state’s first unexplained wealth laws, which enable assets from profits of crime to be frozen and forfeited, come into operation, while attacks on police and emergency services or health workers will also attract tougher penalties.

Murderers who are found to have acted in unreasonable self-defence will no longer be able to avoid a homicide conviction and median sentences for child sexual abuse and culpable driving causing death will also increase.