Two drunk women who assaulted a paramedic but avoided jail time have prompted the Victorian government to review mandatory sentencing laws for attacking emergency service workers.
Amanda Warren, 33, and Caris Underwood, 20, who assaulted paramedic Paul Judd in 2016, had their jail sentences quashed on appeal on Tuesday.
They were among the first in the state to be charged since the government introduced mandatory jail sentences in 2014 for anyone intentionally injuring an emergency worker.
The law requires a minimum six-month jail term unless there are “special reasons”. The women argued their youth and troubled childhoods constituted special reasons.
Health Minister Jill Hennessy told reporters on Wednesday she was “devastated” by the decision.
“Yesterday, we’ve seen a decision that’s led to great disappointment amongst paramedics, it is very frustrating when people are not held accountable for being violent towards paramedics,” she said.
“The special reasons exemption that exists in the legislation has not produced the outcome that our government wants.”
Ms Hennessy said the government was hoping to tighten the clause used by the duo during their appeal.
“The Attorney-General has now instructed the Department of Justice and Regulation to provide advice and to provide drafting options around changing this law to ensure that these sorts of outcomes are not possible,” she said.
“We want accountability towards those that are violent towards paramedics.”
Ambulance Victoria chief executive Tony Walker said Mr Rudd would consider all legal options, including civil action against Warren and Underwood.
“We will explore every avenue available but our preference is to never have to be in this situation,” he said.
“But I’m pleased to see the law is being revisited.”
The government hopes any changes could pass parliament this year.