The Sensible Sentencing Trust say the 2 year imprisonment sentence imposed on Russell Packer is not enough and should be increased by the Court of Appeal.
Trust Spokesman Garth McVicar said rugby league is a tough game played by big strong fit men who choose to compete inside the rules. The game is a contact sport; it is a game of rules and consequences for breaching the rules.
They know that punching is banned; they know that kicking in the head is banned. The game has set consequences, yellow card; red card disciplinary committee hearings and punishment.
[pullquote align=”right”]He is a professional athlete; self-discipline is the rule not the exception[/pullquote]The denial of bail pending appeal is to be applauded; the Court on Appeal should increase the penalty to 5 years imprisonment.
When Russell Packer stepped off the field he enters the world of you and me and the rules called the criminal law apply equally to everyone.
The victim was not a fit strong rugby player; he was punched to the ground then kicked.
If Packer did this on the field he would be RED CARDED, off the field immediately, and banned for life. It should be no different off the field.
We need to set the rules so the thugs know that violence has consequences. SST believes two years imprisonment should be the starting point to deter such thugs. The law needs minimum consequences. The starting point should be two years imprisonment, add an extra year if the offender is a high profile athletic star so the lesson as to the consequences gets to those to whom on the rugby field they are hero’s. This is called “deterrence”.
For good measure the courts should add an extra year per punch then two years per kick on the ground.
McVicar said the law needs to focus on deterrent to save more victims. The consequences of violence need to be direct and known.
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Sensible Sentencing Trust