Change needed to save families from ‘life sentences’
WHILE Cole Miller’s killer will serve seven years behind bars, the beloved 18-year-old’s family faces a “life sentence”.
That is something Justice Helen Bowskill and One Punch Campaign Australia founder Kerry McIntyre agree on.
But no matter the sentence in tragic cases like this, nothing would bring Cole or other one-punch victims back, Ms McIntyre said.
“If we did give Armstrong 25 years ... it’s not going to make any difference to the fact that Cole’s gone,” she said.
“I’m not somebody who focuses and spends my energy on law reforms and things like that.”
Ms McIntyre said Australia had “laws in place already” for crimes such as Renata committed.
She said education and awareness – at pubs, hotels and homes – was what would prevent heartbreak for more families.
She began the one punch can kill campaign after her son’s best friend Cameron Lowe died in Victoria in 2010.
Like Cole Miller, he was a teenager who fell and hit his head after an unprovoked attack.
Like Cole Miller, he died in hospital after his life support was turned off.
“His mother was standing there. I’ll never forget her words: ‘Such an absolutely stupid thing to do. Now it’s ruined both their lives’.”
Changing attitudes to violence, and recognising the role alcohol plays in so many assaults, are needed more than any debate about sentencing, Ms McIntyre says.
“People have got to get out there and spend their time and energy on education and awareness.”