As two accused murderers came before the same court charged over one-punch killings in Sydney, yet another grieving family has called for justice for the “tragedy of inexcusable proportions”.
The murder cases against Shaun McNeil, 25, and Nicholas Lambaditis, 33, were briefly mentioned in Central Local Court on Tuesday, with neither man required to appear in court.
McNeil is accused of murdering Daniel Christie by punching him in an unprovoked attack at Kings Cross on New Year’s Eve.
The murder charge was formally laid against McNeil in court in the wake of 18-year-old Mr Christie’s death at St Vincent’s Hospital on Saturday.
Lambaditis is charged with murdering 34-year-old Lucio Stein Rodrigues, a Brazilian national he allegedly punched outside a bar in Sydney’s CBD last November.
Like Mr Christie, Mr Rodrigues’s life support was turned off days after the attack due to irreparable brain damage.
In a statement read outside court by their lawyer, the Rodrigues family expressed their grief and anger at the death of their son.
“Lucio hasn’t been mentioned in the media much at all lately and it’s very important that he’s not forgotten,” the statement said.
“His family are extremely distraught over the death of their son and they desperately want justice to be done.
“We need to ensure the community and the judiciary understand the family’s outrage, that his death will be in vain if the accused is treated as leniently as other one-punch offenders in recent times.”
They were referring to Kieran Loveridge, who was jailed for four years for killing 18-year-old Thomas Kelly with a single punch in July 2012.
Mr Kelly was attacked just yards from where Mr Christie was punched in Kings Cross.
Both attacks, along with a string of other one-punch attacks over the summer break, have prompted calls for tougher sentencing laws for alcohol-fuelled violence.
On Monday Mr Kelly’s father delivered a petition with 132,000 signatures to the NSW government demanding minimum sentencing laws for manslaughter.
Mr Christie’s family have termed single punches or so-called king hits a “coward’s punch”.
In a statement released after their son’s death, they described him as a “beacon of morality”.
He died while shielding three younger boys who were allegedly punched to the ground by McNeil, who allegedly boasted he was a mixed martial arts fighter before punching Mr Christie.
His brother, Peter Christie, also suffered a split lip in the alleged attack.
“No family should be forced to deal with this situation, however we are not the first and we fear that we won’t be the last,” the Christies said.
The Rodrigues family agreed, saying their son’s death was a “tragedy of inexcusable proportions”.
In a statement that echoed the Christies’ sentiments, they said Mr Rodrigues was a “beacon of the community”.
“He came from a good family, was well educated, well respected and dearly loved by many,” they said.
“(We are) seeking to ensure that with Lucio’s death, a line is drawn in the sand and offenders are dealt with in accordance with community expectations.”
Lambaditis, who has not yet entered a plea, is also charged with assault causing grievous bodily harm and assaulting another man.
McNeil is facing a string of assault charges.
Both men were formally refused bail and will appear before the same court on March 4.