Soft sentences a king hit for justice
I don’t know Luke Adams. Chances are I never will. But when I viewed the graphic, and much-publicised, video of the promising footballer (and his friend) getting bashed at a Prahran Hungry Jack’s last July, my heart skipped a beat.
It was incredibly disturbing footage. On Friday, two of Adams’ attackers were sentenced in the County Court.
Mark Bogtstra, 22, received intensive corrections order, requiring community work for nine months. The man who put Adams in a headlock and let him fall to the ground, bouncer Nathan Karazisis, 24, was sentenced to two years and four months in jail, and made to serve at least a year.
It is a light whack considering the seriousness of his crime. Adams sustained a long list of injuries, including a skull fracture and broken eye socket. These must be taken into account, too.
He will, without doubt, lose confidence in the real world. Such a vicious attack will shake you up. And he may not play footy again – a game that requires confidence and courage.
So, with all this is mind, did Karazisis receive an appropriate sentence?
A bouncer by profession, he would have understood the potential for injury as he held Adams in the choker-hold. Then, he let him fall.
Adams smashed his head on the ground, and is still, obviously, recovering.
Karazisis’ lawyer, ironically, claimed his client felt threatened. Oh yes, that explains why he delivered a flurry of punches to Adams’ head as he held him in a vulnerable position where he was incapable of defending himself.
Luckily the defence didn’t stack up, but that does not mean the sentence does.
It does not send a strong message. While it does not condone senseless violence, it is not far from it.
What makes the verdict worse is the fact a video was available – the same I watched – to the court. It clearly shows the actions of those guilty. The video does not lie, and it should have guaranteed justice.
Adams will be affected forever. Karazisis could walk free in a year. He should never work as a bouncer again, as he used the methods he was taught to inflict serious, and needless, injury on another person.
When will the state stand up to the bullies? When will we reclaim our streets? And when will the victims be heard by the court?
In my eyes, this was a test case and a chance to establish a “hard line” towards thugs who feel it is necessary to mow down those who stand in their way.
And, on this occasion, the court has failed.
Opposition Leader Ted Baillieu has promised to scrap suspended sentences if his party is returned to power. But let’s go further. Scrap minimum and maximum sentences. The sentence handed down should be the sentence served.
Why should Karazisis be allowed to walk free in a year for good prison behaviour when his actions have permanently affected his victim psychologically? Adams’ potential football career is no more. Why should good prison behaviour matter when a guilty verdict has been reached?
The education must start now – and it starts with parents. If they fail to instruct their children on how to conduct themselves in modern society, then we will no longer have standards.
The sooner amped-up people begin to talk with their mouth (and brains) rather than their fists, the better off we will be. Just Think – remember the campaign?
The Police are trying their best to stop the weekly bleeding, but if the legal system fails its duty, the objectives will not be reached.
In my opinion, the court has failed in its duty with its delivery of a slap-on-the-wrist to Karazisis. In the context of the offence, this is what has occurred.
Luke Adams, his family, his friends and the public all deserved better.
Many of us in society no longer feel safe on the streets at night. How much longer can it continue?
As Adams’ father, Peter told the Herald Sun after the verdict was reached: “On the face of it, it (the sentence) would not seem much of a deterrent. People should be able to go out in public during the day and night and feel safe. And the message I seem to read from the community, and one I certainly have, is people don’t feel safe.”
The Government, Police and the courts must all start to work together.
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