Does Western Australia need ‘One-Punch’ laws?
Jaylen Dimer, the man who struck nightclub manager Giuseppe Raco from behind, causing him to fall to the ground and never regain consciousness, could be free from jail as early as January 2026 after pleading guilty to a charge of manslaughter.
This case has had significant political, media and community attention, because there have been expressions of concern that the sentence imposed in this case was not adequate, and does not reflect a 2011 law change which increased the maximum penalty for manslaughter to life imprisonment.
Appeal for a tougher sentence
Mr Dimer was sentenced on the factual basis that he struck Giuseppe ‘Pep’ Raco from behind at a kebab shop. After being struck, Mr Raco walked away, sat down, and fell out of consciousness. Subsequently Mr Raco’s wife, made the decision to turn off Mr Raco’s life support.
Mr Dimer was charged with manslaughter. He pleaded guilty to the charge and was sentenced to seven and half years imprisonment. Prosecutors appealed the sentence, hoping to have the term of imprisonment lengthened. Their appeal was unanimously dismissed in the Supreme Court.
Following the incident in 2020, the Western Australian Government set about implementing laws to ban offenders and perpetrators of violence and antisocial behaviour from designated Western Australian Protected Entertainment Precincts. The law has yet to be passed by the parliament.
What is a ‘one-punch’ law?
There are now also calls for Western Australia to introduce a ‘One Punch’ law, similar to that which exists in New South Wales.
The ‘one-punch’ law was introduced into New South Wales in 2014 after a series of alcohol-fueled assaults in the Sydney CBD. One-punch attacks are sometimes also called ‘King Hits’. Typically, they occur when a person strikes another in the head or neck area and knocks them unconscious, leaving the victim at risk of further head injury if they fall to the ground.
These types of assaults very often result in death or serious injury.
Prior to the charge of ‘assault causing death’ the only other charges available to police in circumstances where a one-punch attack has resulted in death were murder or manslaughter.
In New South Wales, the offence of assault causing death is an offence which carries a maximum penalty of 25 years in prison. In the event an adult committed the assault and was intoxicated at the time, a mandatory minimum full-term sentence of 8 years applies as well as a mandatory minimum ‘non parole period’ of 4 years.
Western Australia’s High Risk Serious Offenders laws
The family of victim Giuseppe Raco has expressed disappointment at the Supreme Court’s decision, and Premier Mark McGowan has vowed to ensure "every effort is made" to keep Dimer "behind bars beyond his sentence" by instructing the Attorney General to ensure that the “High Risk Offenders legislation is used to its fullest extent.”
The High Risk Serious Offenders Bill 2020 enables the Supreme Court to make orders to keep Western Australia's most violent offenders behind bars beyond their sentence.
The Director of Public Prosecutions or the State Solicitor's Office can apply to the Supreme Court to make an order for the continuing detention or supervision of a person who has committed a serious violent offence, if at the completion of their sentence that person continues to pose an unacceptable risk of further violent reoffending.
Upon such application the Supreme Court must consider whether the person should either remain in prison, or be placed under strict supervision in the community until such time as that person no longer poses an unacceptable risk to public safety.
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PLEASE NOTE: The material in this blog post is for informational use only and should not be construed as legal advice. For answers to your questions regarding this or other topics, please contact a professional legal representative.