Craig Dight on the side of the road at Broadbeach with a sign and a shirt protesting one-punch attacks and rallying for tougher sentencing. Picture Glenn Hampson
Craig Dight on the side of the road at Broadbeach with a sign and a shirt protesting one-punch attacks and rallying for tougher sentencing. Picture Glenn Hampson

Why this dad wants to stop coward’s punch

THE simple sign held by Surfers Paradise dad Craig Dight on the side of the Gold Coast Highway has a simple message - stop the coward punches.

The barista took to the streets this week, campaigning to have penalties for coward punches increased.

His efforts may be in vain with the state government saying there are already adequate provisions under the current law.

 

Mr Dight's campaign comes after Coomera man Caleb Maraku, 19, was sentenced to 18 months probation for a shocking one-punch attack in Surfers Paradise last November which knocked Taliesin O'Meara unconscious and left him hospitalised.

Caleb Maraku, 19, leaves court after being sentenced for a brutal one punch attack in Surfers Paradise.
Caleb Maraku, 19, leaves court after being sentenced for a brutal one punch attack in Surfers Paradise.

The Queensland Police Service are still considering if they will appeal the sentence and have until mid next month to lodge any potential action.

"I really would like to see the justice system up its penalties from what they are doing," Mr Dight said.

Mr Dight said Maraku's jovial behaviour outside the courthouse following his sentence showed the current penalties were not working.

"Now people are just laughing at the system," he said.

Kiwi Caleb Maraku, 19, coward punches teenager Taliesin O’Meara in Surfers Paradise during Schoolies Week last year. Source: Channel 9
Kiwi Caleb Maraku, 19, coward punches teenager Taliesin O’Meara in Surfers Paradise during Schoolies Week last year. Source: Channel 9

Two years ago Mr Dight held up a similar sign on the roadside after the death of Cole Miller in a horrifying one punch attack in Brisbane.

He said part of his motivation was seeing three friends become the victims of coward punch attacks.

"It's quite shocking to think one minute they are standing next to you and the next they are on a stretcher," he said.

Under current law there is an aggravated offence for a one-punch attacks which result in death.

Surfers Paradise MP John-Paul Langbroek said the law did not need to change around coward punches but action did need to be taken.

"We just need judges and magistrates that give proper penalties that reflect community expectations," he said.

Mr Langbroek said he would rather see lawyers appealing sentences for being too harsh than convicted criminals walking away with lighter sentences.

Potts Lawyers director Bill Potts said there were already serious penalties available to the court.

Kiwi Caleb Maraku, 19, coward punches teenager Taliesin O’Meara in Surfers Paradise during Schoolies Week last year. Source: Channel 9
Kiwi Caleb Maraku, 19, coward punches teenager Taliesin O’Meara in Surfers Paradise during Schoolies Week last year. Source: Channel 9

He said mandatory sentencing should not be introduced as it was difficult to make "one size fits all".

"Who can say what is worse, a single punch or someone who punches someone ten times," he said.

A spokeswoman for Attorney-General Yvette D'Ath said violent offences were already extensively covered in the Criminal Code.

"A person convicted of grievous bodily harm is liable to be imprisoned for 14 years," she said.

Kiwi Caleb Maraku, 19, coward punches teenager Taliesin O’Meara in Surfers Paradise during Schoolies Week last year. Source: Channel 9
Kiwi Caleb Maraku, 19, coward punches teenager Taliesin O’Meara in Surfers Paradise during Schoolies Week last year. Source: Channel 9

The spokeswoman said the state government had a clear strategy to tackle alcohol-fuelled violence.

"This includes reducing the amount of time that alcohol is served after midnight and implementing ID scanners at licenced venues in Safe Night Precincts," she said.

"Importantly, these laws strive to prevent the violence and harm from occurring in the first place."

The attack by Maraku on Mr O'Meara occurred after the Palaszczuk government introduced the new laws to tackle alcohol-related violence.

A spokeswoman for Police Minister Mark Ryan said the state government was taking alcohol-fuelled violence seriously.

"We have put extra funding into awareness and safety campaigns, delivered record funding to put more and better resourced police on the beat and introduced banning notices, ID scanners and high-visibility operations in safe night precincts," she said.



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