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New laws in New South Wales to curb alcohol-fuelled violence

NSW Cabinet met this week to discuss new ‘one-punch‘ laws following yet another high profile assault and the death of Sydney teenager, Daniel Christie.

NSW Premier, Barry O’Farrell had the following to say of the new laws:-

“It is no longer acceptable to go out and drink yourself stupid, take illicit substances, start fights, ‘coward punch’ people or engage in other assaults thinking you [will] get away with it. From the point this legislation is passed, those days are over”.

The new laws are expected to come into effect as early as next month and include:-

  • Changes to NSW liquor laws requiring bottle shops to close their doors by 10.00 pm;
  • The introduction of ‘lockout zones’ from Kings Cross to Darlinghurst and Haymarket requiring bars to refuse entry to patrons after 1.30 am and the service of last drinks by 3.00 am;
  • Exemptions to the lockout zones will apply for small bars with 60 patrons or less, casinos, tourist accommodation or back-packer bars, and restaurants;
  • Persons convicted of a serious assault in circumstances where they were under the influence of alcohol or drugs will serve an additional sentence of two (2) years imprisonment;
  • Increased police powers to enforce random drug and alcohol testing; and
  • A new mandatory sentencing regime will be introduced for fatal ‘one-punch’ assaults, imposing a minimum sentence of eight (8) years imprisonment and a maximum sentence of twenty (20) years imprisonment (25 years for anyone under the influence of alcohol or drugs at the time of the offence).

The State government will also be introducing free buses from Kings Cross to the City, departing every 10 minutes after 3.00 am to move people off the streets and away from potential conflict.

NSW Police have welcomed the new laws with Police Association President, Scott Weber, stating that “Today’s suite of measures is a win for the community and for all police officers who protect the community”.

The new laws however, could likely mean a surge in the state’s gaol population. When asked how he would handle any such increase, Barry O’Farrell commented “We decided that we would send a message. When it comes to keeping people safe and alive, there is no price you can put on that”.

For more information on your legal rights or criminal law generally, contact Brazel Moore Lawyers on (02) 4324 7699.

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