Judicial Responses to Alcohol-Fuelled Public Violence: The Loveridge Effect
After the death of Thomas Kelly (2012) and Daniel Christie (2013) in Sydney, New South Wales (NSW), there was widespread discussion and concern over the problem of so-called one punch alcohol-fuelled violence. A ‘centre-piece’ of the NSW Government’s response was the enactment, in January 2014, of what is known colloquially as the ‘One Punch Law’: the Crimes and Other Legislation Amendment (Assault and Intoxication) Act 2014 (NSW), which includes a mandatory minimum sentence for assault causing death whilst intoxicated. This paper analyses the judicial response to one punch alcohol-fuelled violence, with a focus on the effect of the decision in R v Loveridge  NSWCCA 120. I show that the judiciary has rejected the existence of a discrete category of ‘one punch’ manslaughters and, instead, has defined a category of alcohol-fuelled public violence for which there is a strong need for general deterrence. Based on an analysis of cases handed down since the NSW Court of Criminal Appeal’s 2014 decision, I show that the ‘Loveridge effect’ has been to significantly increase sentences in such matters.
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