Lawyers say no to mandatory sentencing for coward punches

A GROUP representing 1200 legal minds are demanding the New South Wales Government dump plans to install mandatory sentences in an effort to crack down against booze-fuelled violence.

In the face of strong community support for the reforms, the Australian Lawyers for Human Rights warn not only will the changes do little to address the issue, they would come at a huge financial cost.

The NSW Government will this week recall Parliament to implement the new laws, which would include 10pm closing times for liquor stores, $1100 on-the-spot fines for "continued intoxicated and disorderly behaviour" and increasing the maximum penalty for supplying steroids from two years to 25 years.

ALHR vice president Nathan Kennedy said while the "one-punch" attacks in NSW were tragic, the new sentences will do nothing to prevent the attacks.

He said the government was expecting those involved in "irrational" attacks to give thought to the possible consequences, something he described as "nonsense".

It could also lead to a huge budget blow-out of $500 million if the state jailed all convicted assault offenders, based on 2011 figures.

Communities including the Northern Rivers in NSW - stretching from Tweed to the Clarence Valley - are backing the changes.

Since 2011, three men have been killed after allegedly being king hit.

The NSW Government declined requests for comment.


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