Judge in call for vi­o­lence re­view

Sunday Herald Sun - - News - PADRAIC MUR­PHY

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.

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