Publication Details

J. Quilter, 'Judicial responses to alcohol-fuelled public violence: The Loveridge effect' (2017) 6 (3) International Journal For Crime, Justice and Social Democracy 123-146.


After the death of Thomas Kelly (2012) and Daniel Christie (2013) in Sydney, New South Wales (NSW), there was widespread discussion and concern over the problem of so-called one punch alcohol-fuelled violence. A 'centre-piece' of the NSW Government's response was the enactment, in January 2014, of what is known colloquially as the 'One Punch Law': the Crimes and Other Legislation Amendment (Assault and Intoxication) Act 2014 (NSW), which includes a mandatory minimum sentence for assault causing death whilst intoxicated. This paper analyses the judicial response to one punch alcohol-fuelled violence, with a focus on the effect of the decision in R v Loveridge [2014] NSWCCA 120. I show that the judiciary has rejected the existence of a discrete category of 'one punch' manslaughters and, instead, has defined a category of alcohol-fuelled public violence for which there is a strong need for general deterrence. Based on an analysis of cases handed down since the NSW Court of Criminal Appeal's 2014 decision, I show that the 'Loveridge effect' has been to significantly increase sentences in such matters.



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