New law: 25 years in jail for steroid possession and supply

ANTI-VIOLENCE campaigners have welcomed new laws to combat street violence but believe responsibility also lies with the judiciary and the rest of the country (Australia).

Mandatory minimum sentences for fatal alcohol and drug-fuelled assaults and earlier lockouts will be in place this weekend after NSW parliament passed anti-violence legislation on Thursday night.

Party-goers will be locked out of clubs from 1.30am in the Sydney city-centre entertainment precinct, including Kings Cross, and last drinks will be at 3am.

Steroid possession and supply will also attract a maximum jail term of 25 years, up from two years, while those convicted of fatal one-punch assaults while intoxicated or on steroids will be subject to the minimum eight-year mandatory jail term.

People will be considered intoxicated if their blood-alcohol concentration is above 0.15 per cent or they have taken illegal drugs.

Robert McEwen, whose son Michael was in a coma after being punched in Bondi in December, said he was concerned with mandatory sentences.

He gave the example in which a drunk person who throws a fatal punch would be jailed for eight years while a sober person, such as a gang member, who deliberately assaults someone who dies would not be exposed to the same mandatory sentence.

“People are upset about the light sentences that these people have received,” he told AAP after the legislation was passed on Thursday.

“I think the judiciary has the scope to impose tougher sentences.”

Enough is Enough campaigner Ken Marslew said NSW Premier Barry O’Farrell had shown real leadership.

“It’s taken such a lot of work by such a lot of people,” he told AAP.

However, Mr Marslew said the violence problems went far beyond Sydney’s boundaries.

“This problem is all over the state from Wagga Wagga to Tweed Heads,” he said.

He called on the federal government to establish a national model.

The reforms also remove voluntary intoxication as a mitigating factor for judges and magistrates considering penalties for drunk assaults.

A defence for people with a “significant cognitive impairment at the time of the offence” has been established and juveniles are exempt from most of the new measures.

NSW Police will also have new powers to conduct alcohol and drug testing on alcohol or drug-related assault suspects.

“The consequences couldn’t be clearer for any thug heading out this weekend,” Mr O’Farrell said.

“If you are intoxicated with drugs or alcohol and fatally assault someone, you will now be captured by a new mandatory minimum sentence of eight years’ jail, with a maximum sentence of 25 years.”

The Australian Hotels Association says some of the measures will unfairly harm businesses for which violence is not a problem.

http://www.couriermail.com.au/news/breaking-news/greens-mps-to-vote-against-alcohol-reforms/story-fnihsfrf-1226813487976

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