Magistrate warns of harsher sentences for drunk violence

GOVERNMENTS, the judiciary and community organisations are fed up with alcohol-fuelled violence, and are implementing measures to fight back.

A man was sentenced in Gladstone Magistrates Court last Friday to 15 months imprisonment with three months to serve in custody after he struck his victim in the face with a glass.

Glen Hicks inflicted serious cuts and lacerations to the victim's face, requiring a total of 14 stitches.

The incident, at the Grand Hotel in March, marks the beginning of harsher sentences and a zero-tolerance policy when facing court.

Magistrate Russell Warfield said Gladstone would not tolerate drunken violence inside or outside licensed premises.

He also issued a warning to revellers that terms of imprisonment would be given to defendants who engaged in such acts, even if they had no criminal history.

When sentencing local man Daniel Wells on Tuesday for being a public nuisance, Magistrate Warfield was clearly disgusted with ongoing examples of unruly behaviour.

Mr Warfield told the defendant, who copped a $750 fine for spitting and swearing, that he had acted like a complete moron.

Mr Warfield cautioned Mr Wells and the community to control themselves while drinking.

Antagonism to perpetrators of cowardly acts of violence is reverberating throughout the country. At least 92 deaths have occurred in Australia since 2000 due to alcohol-fuelled violence.

FamilyVoice national research officer Ross Phillips said a lack of maturity and responsibility in persons aged 18 was a substantial factor in such tragedies.

"Governments need to recognise that human brains are not fully developed until about age 25," he said.

"At age 18, when teens can legally vote, drive and drink alcohol, this process is far from complete.

"People aged 18 are far more likely to act impulsively and take risks they would never consider when seven years older."

Mr Phillips said the simple answer was raising the legal drinking age.

New South Wales Premier Barry O'Farrell will introduce mandatory minimum sentences of eight years in jail for fatal one-punch attacks involving alcohol and drugs.

A man has been charged with the murder of Daniel Christie, 18, who died after an attack at Kings Cross.



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