Change needed to save fam­i­lies from ‘life sen­tences’

Sunshine Coast Daily - - NEWS - John Weekes

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.”

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