Judge in call for violence review
A SUPREME Court judge has urged his superiors to review sentencing guidelines for men who kill their partners, in the face of a domestic violence crisis in the state.
Justice Michael Croucher — a popular tip to take over as head of the Supreme Court’s criminal list should His Honour Lex Lasry retire — urged the Court of Appeal to consider whether sentences for domestic violence killers are adequate.
“I think the Court of Appeal is better placed to answer questions such as whether such (sentencing) practices are inadequate and, if so, whether they should be altered and, if so, by how much or in what way,” Justice Croucher said.
“I do not think I should presume to embark upon a consideration of any such questions without detailed and reasoned submissions from the Director and the accused as to why I should or should not undertake such a task.”
Justice Croucher made the comments while this week sentencing Makeny Banek, 25, to 23 years’ jail for the murder of his estranged wife, Abuk Akek.
The powerfully built Banek tried to beat Ms Akek to death before killing her with a kitchen knife.
After the murder, Banek fell asleep on a friend’s couch.
When police arrested him he confessed, saying he killed the 20-year-old mother because she left him after years of abuse.
Last month, the Herald Sun revealed the number of women killed by their partners almost doubled in 2016.
Horrific figures from the Coroners Court show a woman — or a child — was killed every 12 days, on average, in 2016. There were 21 probable and possible homicides of women last year, up from 11 in 2015.
Last year, the State Government committed $572 million to a family violence package.