Just to be absolutely clear, smashing convicted paedophile and child rapist Dennis Ferguson over the head with a medicine ball is not the ideal way to respond to his presence in a city gymnasium.
That said, Ferguson’s presence in a city gymnasium is not an ideal situation either.
Especially when he just sits there, dressed in a business suit, not even exercising at all, but outside at the pool where he can gaze at dozens of primary school kids who are learning to swim. Especially when he times his visits to coincide with the swimming lessons, either the primary school kids in the mornings, or the high school students when he visits in the afternoon.
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The death of 24 year old Matthew McEvoy outside a night club in Melbourne in 2008 was as a result of acts of senseless violence by two young men, Andriyas Tello and Lauren Sako.
But as tragic as Matthew McEvoy’s death is, it is important to remember that the justice system in a democratic society is not there as a tool of revenge or bloodlust, but exists rather as a means of both protecting society and hoping that these young men do not offend in this serious way again.
David Penberthy on this site last Thursday took issue with Victorian Supreme Court Justice Paul Coghlan’s sentencing of Tello, who pleaded guilty to manslaughter, to a period of 5 years imprisonment (Sako has already been sent to jail for 6 years with a 3 year minimum term).
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In two courts yesterday, two very different sentences were handed down, for two stomach-turning crimes which epitomise public disgust at random, life-destroying violence.
Did the courts reflect that public disgust in their sentences? Did they do their job in reflecting community standards? In one case, probably. In the other, most definitely not.
Both cases involved indiscriminate and unprompted violence, the kind of blink-of-an-eye brain-snaps which terrify every parent, where an innocent young man was jumped, king-hit and left for dead.
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