News State NSW News NSW laws to punish one-punch killers
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NSW laws to punish one-punch killers

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AAP
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A man has been charged over a one-punch assault in Sydney’s east that left another man needing reconstructive facial surgery.

Police said the 24-year-old victim was out with friends at a Potts Point nightclub when he was hit in the side of the head about 11pm (AEDT) on November 6.

The “coward’s punch” fractured the man’s jaw, and he subsequently needed reconstructive surgery, police said in a statement.

They said a man, 28, was on Monday charged with causing grievous bodily harm with intent over the incident.

The alleged attacker has been granted conditional bail and will face Downing Centre Local Court on February 11.

He was also banned from going to the Kings Cross precinct.

The charges come as NSW is set to introduce radical new laws to tackle alcohol-fuelled crime, including a mandatory minimum sentence of eight years in jail for fatal “one-punch” assaults where drug or alcohol use is a factor.

The move comes after the recent deaths of teenagers Daniel Christie and Thomas Kelly in Sydney.

Premier Barry O’Farrell will announce the proposed new laws on Tuesday as part of a broader policy response following increasing community concern over alcohol-fuelled violence.

A government source has told Fairfax Media a mandatory minimum penalty of eight years in jail and a maximum sentence of 25 years will apply to one-punch assaults resulting in death where drugs or alcohol were found to be a factor.

No mandatory minimum sentence will apply for fatal one-punch assaults that do not involve drugs or alcohol.

However, under laws flagged last year by Attorney-General Greg Smith and modelled on West Australian legislation, a maximum sentence of 20 years will apply, Fairfax reports.

This is lower than the 25-year maximum sentence for manslaughter, but the proposed law will make it easier to secure a lengthy prison sentence than a murder conviction, where the crown must prove the attacker knew the punch would be fatal.

The NSW government mooted one-punch laws last year after Kieran Loveridge, 19, was found guilty of fatally punching 18-year-old Thomas Kelly in Kings Cross in 2012 and sentenced to a maximum of six years jail.

Daniel Christie, 18, died due to injuries allegedly sustained in a one-punch assault on New Year’s Eve.

Mr O’Farrell met with cabinet on Monday to consider a number of proposals to try to stem the flow of booze and violence on the state’s streets.

He was tight-lipped on Monday about details of the proposals under consideration, but predicted the public would be “delighted” by the new policies when they are announced on Tuesday.

“I’m confident the package being taken to cabinet this afternoon addresses community concerns and will make a difference,” he said.

Risk-based licensing, recommended by former Office of Liquor, Gaming and Racing commissioner Michael Foggo following a review of the Liquor Act last year and reportedly given in-principle cabinet approval 16 months ago, was widely tipped to be one policy up for consideration.

This would mean bigger venues or those with a history of non-compliance with the Liquor Act would pay more for the right to serve alcohol.