Earlier this month, Ariik Mayot who was the first person to be charged under Queensland’s “one punch can kill laws” pleaded guilty to the unlawful striking of Lindsay Ede, a 55 year old man who died from extensive injuries to the head caused by Mr Mayot’s single punch.
It is important that as we head into that time of year where Christmas parties are a regular occurrence and people tend to be consuming significant amounts of alcohol during nights out on the town, that people are aware of the offences which exist and the penalties that can be imposed for alcohol fueled violence.
Under Queensland’s Criminal Code (‘the Code’), a person who unlawfully strikes another person to the head or neck and causing death is guilty of a crime under section 314A of the Code – unlawful striking causing death.
This provision of the Criminal Code was introduced in 2014 under the Newman Government as part of a number of legislative reforms to attempt to reduce incidents of alcohol related violence.
The offence mirrors the offence of manslaughter but removes the availability of the defence of accident under the Code.
Prior to the provisions being introduced in 2014, the Prosecution was faced with the difficulty of securing a murder conviction. This is because, while the person may have intended to punch the victim, they did not intend to kill them. Further, it also removes the hurdles of securing a conviction for manslaughter, since it can be argued that the death of the victim was not intended or foreseen by the person.
Unlawful striking causing death carries a maximum penalty of life imprisonment. In addition, under the provision, the Court must make an order the person is not released from prison until they have served the lesser of either:-
- 80% of the person’s sentence for the offence; or
- 15 years
It is important that party-goers, especially young people are aware that if they engage in alcohol fuelled violence while out on the town this holiday season they could be charged with more than a public nuisance offence.
Mr Mayot is due to be sentenced in March 2017, at only twenty years and as a result of a few seconds of poor judgement he could potentially spend the rest of his life in prison.
If you’re in trouble with the law and facing criminal proceedings please do not hesitate to contact our office and arrange an appointment with one of our experienced solicitors.