Murder? What Murder?

What if you were with your family playing cricket on the beach and you saw some blokes nicking booze out of your esky,  would you:

a) Just laugh it off and ignore it?

b) Tell your family and get someone to call the police?

c) Take care of it yourself and chase then off?

Well Bill Rowe chose answer (C).  Grandfather and father of five, Bill, who was playing cricket with his family last year in December on a beach in WA.  Told the thieves to buggar off!

It then turned ugly as the thieves recruited mates (25 of ’em!) who “pelted the family with beer bottles, rocks and sticks”.  During the attack Bill Rowe was hit in the head with a cricket bat, fell and  hit his head on a roadway and died – his soon to be son-in-law was slashed with a broken beer bottle and his jaw and collar bones broken.

http://www.news.com.au/story/0,23599,22974815-2,00.html

Police eventually charged a man with murder.

Yesterday the murder charges were changed because a forensic pathologist determined that the blow from the cricket bat was not the only factor that led to Bill Rowe’s death.

http://www.news.com.au/story/0,23599,24505935-29277,00.html

I bet that if the thieves hadn’t been around, Bill would  be here today!  That would be enough “factor” for me!

If theft leads to death then it could be manslaughter (unplanned) but if a gang of thugs is organised to attack a family having a day out at the beach,  then that’s  planned and organised  to cause harm. 

If that results in any death then that should be a pretty clear case of murder.  The police obviously thought so…

The actions of the gang caused the death of Bill Rowe – had they not stolen his beer, had he not been hit with his own cricket bat he would be alive today!  

What’s happened to our justice sytem over the last 50 years?  It almost encourages criminal behaviour!

Advertisements

11 Responses

  1. That’s pretty fkn harsh. Not sure how that can require anything but the most severe of penalties…capital excluded.

    You don’t hit someone in the head with a cricketbat & pretend that you don’t expect it to contribute to their death.

  2. What’s happened to our justice sytem over the last 50 years? It almost encourages criminal behaviour!

    It sure does!

    In the mid 80s a lady wrote to the editor of one of the SA dailies with her story. Her daugther, from the age of 4, was being sexually molested by one of her parent’s friends. The child was warned by the animal that he would harm her if she ever told her parents.

    This went on until the girl was 11, at which time she could no longer keep the hurt and the fear inside.

    The animal was convicted and served some time in prison.

    It was a sad story in itself, but it got worse. It was upon his release that the mother wrote her letter to the editor, not to talk of the crime but to ask where is justice. She concluded her letter by saying “I can produce evidence where people have served longer sentences for failing to pay parking fines, than that of the man that raped my daugther for 7 years and ruined her life”.

    Where is the justice? Apparently it’s considered worse to leave a parking fine unpaid than it is to rape and threaten young children.

    And here’s another, more closer to home:

    Almost 20 years ago I lost a younger brother in a car aciident in which he was 1 of 3 passengers. Another one of those passengers also lost his life. The other, a young Swedish toursit, was left a paraplegic. Evidence came out that the driver was speeding and that the passengers were yelling at her to slow down. She was later charged and fined $1000.

    A few months later somebody let a bat loose in a Melbourne restaurant. For this prank he was fined $1500 for causing distress to the bat and the diners.

    Where is the justice? Apparently it’s considered worse to let a bat loose in a restaurant than it is to kill and main people on our roads.

  3. The Law is an arse, a real arse. Penalties need to be stronger and Judges need to apply the penalties.

    Judges use the term that the crime was not of sufficient magnitude to apply the longest permissable time.

    To me murder is murder. If the person died fast or slow is irrelevant. the person is now dead as result of your actions and as such the term should be life without parole.

    If you hit a person in the head with an implement you are responsible for the result. If the person receives injuries you are to be charged with grevious bodily harm. if the person dies you are to be charged with murder ( no less ). If it was self defence then let the evidence come out on court.

    Otherwise do the crime do the time.

    Judges wake up and sentence people appropriately. A few years for taking a lifetime is a blight on the judges sentences of the punishments enacted by government. Either way they need fixing. I truly believe we need a referendum on what constitutes acceptable punishment and terms for crimes committed.

  4. Something has happened. Some years ago I was outside a pub putting my sister into a cab. Some bloke shoved us out of the way, physically, and jumped into the cab. My natural reaction was to call the bloke a weak prick for doing so. Within seconds I was set upon by at least 10 blokes, being held and punched repeatedly. I still have a clear vision of 6 bouncers standing watching with their arms folded as this went on. I was saved by the same taxi driver who had done a lap of the block, kicked the other bloke out, drove through the group and collected us without actually stopping the cab. If it wasn’t for him, I was a goner. But I still can’t for the life of me understand how quickly the whole thing escalated. Sure, I might have been ok if I hadn’t given the bloke a spray, as this old bloke would have been also. But the speed to which these thugs escalate things and the level of violence is just something else. It has to be premeditated. They must go out seeking it. You’ve (society) gotta ask why?

  5. I agree that this sounds bad but lets wait and see what the penalty is when he is sentenced.

    I do some prosecution work and it isn’t always as straight forward as the press make out – often it is better to reduce the charges and get a plea than run the risk of them getting off on a technicality – it isn’t an easy decision to make.

    Sentencing will come down to the criminality of the offence, which is assessed against the maximum penalty. In this case, the criminality of the offence for murder would actually be towards the lower end because there was little intention (although there have have been reckless indifference) and the murder charge may only have been laid due to it being a felony murder (ie, murder that resulted from an assault but without the intent to murder). The penalties in such cases are generally less.

    However, if he is charged with assault or manslaughter, he may actually get just as much jail time as in a murder charge because the gravity of the assualt causing death was at the higher end of the scale.

    It is all good and well to say that penalties should be higher or set at certain levels but if you actually spend some time ion the justice system, the penalty is pretty appropriate in the vast majority of cases and it is articles like this and TT and ACA stories that distort the reality.

    If you really want to look at some out of whack penalties (on the low side), environmental offences are the ones that you should look at.

  6. James,

    I blame the chems. Years ago, alcohol may have made people agro but they were also groggy and slow. Now, alcohol and speed or ice mean people are both agro and full of energy (and feel 20 feet tall and bulletproof).

  7. It’s hardly a startling endorsement of the legal system when Wayne Carey gets off with a $700 fine for kicking and punching police officers and resisting arrest.

    Now he’s due to stand trial in Australia for “glassing” his girlfriend. I wonder whether that will also attract a slight ‘tap on the wrist’

    Like Dave55, I also think speed/ice have a lot to answer for, not to mention steroids..

  8. Yeah – that seems pretty light – although to be fair, he probably loses his visa to the US as a result which is also a penalty and his lawyer probably spun some crap about him also being punished by losing his status in Australia as a result (overlooking the fact that every one here already thought he was a twat and not worth spitting on for: shagging his team mate’s misses, glassing his GF and playing for Nth Melbourne (Sorry James, couldn’t resist that last one).

    Sentencing plays a few roles, it has a specific deterrence component (ie, ie punishment) and a general deterrence component (ie send a message to others not to do this). It should also take into account how bad the offence was compared to other breaches constituting the same offence. Other factors like contrition, age of the accused, their health, other penalties already incurred as a result also are taken into consideration and mandatory sentencing, while appropriate for specific deterrence, is crap at taking into account these other relevant factors. A further compounding factor is discounts given for early pleas. These are a little controversial however they do save the State a lot of money and expense and avoid inconveniencing witnesses who have to attend and be cross examined – do not underestimate how much of a consideration this plays in sexual assault cases where a prosecutor will plead out to lesser offence to save the victim a heap of grief.

    I hope this helps explain the sentencing process a little better and why cases and their results aren’t as straight forward as they seem.

  9. Dave 55

    I see your point however to me murder is murder. there are no degrees. If you killed someone by your actions than it is murder.

    age, health and other things should not be a factor in my opinion. We all know and I knew from the age of 7 that bashing and hitting and murder and stealing are wrong.

    Saving the state a lot of money only serves to put the perpetrators back in the public to inflict more damage. i would rather they be out of sociiety for a while longer and happy to pay that bit extra for my own safety.

    I see no sentencing being a deterrent to the young when any excuse is used for their actions and the sentencing is something like 20 hours community service.

    I understand the media beat things up, however if the lenient sentences they report on are incorrect surely they should be rorced to retract their comments and publish the corretc sentencing.

  10. Shane, There is a difference between the offence and the sentence. Age, health etc have no bearing at all on the offence, only the sentence if you are found (or plead) guilty.

    Prosecutors are often faced with difficult decisions and, if the evidence is problematic for a greater offence but not for a lesser one,or there is utility in getting a conviction without going through trial, the decision is easy. While you say murder is murder, that may well be so in a moral sense but from a legal perspective, the wording of the offence may not make it so. If the crime deserves punishment but making an offence of murder stick is problematic then I am all for getting a conviction on a lesser charge than letting the person walk free. Would you prefer to have a TT headline story – murderer walks free, or killer found guiltyr of a lesser charge and sentenced to 10 years imprisonment?

  11. Dave

    I see your point mate, but that is why I tend to think the law is an arse as we have to have accpetance of lesser pleads just to get a conviction. To me its like there are no degrees of honesty. You steal $1 of $1,000,000 you are still a thief.

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: