Jake Brook during his treatment in hospital.
Jake Brook during his treatment in hospital. Trevor Veale

Victim's mum wants 'One Punch' legislation to change

ON DAYS where she feels like giving up, one thing keeps Liz Brook going.

She believes her family has been sentenced to a life of misery and no one has been held responsible and she's determined to stop others from suffering the same injustice.

Dallas Kahl, a local Dorrigo man, was arrested the morning Jake was fighting for his life at the Coffs Harbour Hospital.

In early 2011, a jury found him guilty of recklessly causing grievous bodily harm.

He was later sentenced to the five years jail with a non-parole period of three years.

During the same period, the Criminal Court of Appeal was considering whether the offence required foresight of grievous bodily harm to establish recklessness.

Kahl's lawyers appealed his sentence and he was granted bail while he awaited a retrial.

New legislation, which required the prosecution to prove only that when the defendant committed the act, they foresaw as a possible consequence of their actions, actual bodily harm, passed through NSW Parliament in June last year.

At the time, Attorney-General Greg Smith hoped the changes would "close a significant gap in the prosecution of offences involving physical harm", most commonly when "a single punch (causing) a victim to fall and strike his or her head on the footpath (results) in serious brain injury".

Kahl returned to the Coffs Harbour District Court this week and was found not guilty.

Liz believes the current legislation surrounding the One Punch Can Kill campaign needs reviewing and those who are found guilty should be subject to harder jail sentences.

"The law needs to start to look after the victims so that people understand they can't get away with even one punch because the reality is the victim can end up like Jake, or dead," she said.

"If someone can ruin someone's life and it a slap on the wrist, something is not right."

 

TIMELINE

JANUARY, 2010

Jake Brook falls and hits his head in the main street of Dorrigo.

He is rushed to hospital in a critical condition.In the next 24 hours he is pronounced clinically dead and resuscitated on two occasions.

Police arrest Dorrigo man Dallas Kahl and charge him with recklessly causing grievous bodily harm.

APRIL, 2011

A jury finds Kahl guilty.

He is bailed until his sentence date.

The Criminal Court of appeal is considering whether the offence Kahl was charged with requires the foresight of grievous bodily harm to establish recklessness.

SEPTEMBER, 2011

Kahl is sentenced to five years jail with a non parole period of three years.

His lawyers successfully launch an appeal.

JUNE 2012

Legislation passes through NSW Parliament requiring the prosecution to prove that when the defendant committed the act, they foresaw as a possible consequence of their actions, actual bodily harm.

APRIL, 2013

Dallas Kahl returns to the Coffs Harbour District Court and is found not guilty of the offence.



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