In the wake of recent events the topic of one punch laws is back in the spotlight. It is therefore timely to remember the 2014 changes that were introduced by the Safe Night Out Legislation Amendment Bill.

The bill, which amended 12 pieces of Queensland legislation, intended to reduce alcohol and drug related violence in Queensland’s nightlife. In particular the government introduced a new specific one punch can kill offence namely “Unlawful Striking Causing Death”.

This offence is separate to murder or manslaughter and prevents a person from relying on the accident defence. The explanatory notes which accompany the bill indicate that the new offence prevents a person from attempting to argue that “although the strike was deliberate and wilful, the death of the victim was an ‘accident’.”

The maximum penalty for this offence is life imprisonment.  If a term of imprisonment is imposed for this offence, the Court must make an order that the defendant not be released from prison until they have served either 15 years in prison or 80 percent of the term of imprisonment for the offence (whichever is the lesser amount of time). In particular this should be contrasted with the offence of manslaughter, which leaves the decision of sentencing to the court in each particular case.

In all cases involving allegations of assault or street violence it is vital to obtain independent legal advice very quickly.

If you or someone you know has had the unfortunate experience of being charged after a night out our solicitors would be happy to give them advice in relation to how best to resolve any offences.

Call us on 3034 0000