WA needs to get serious about penalties for coward punch offenders

When a violent coward punch attacker walks out of court smiling and taking selfies, we can assume he's pretty happy with the sentence he's just received. 

But no one else is happy.  Certainly not the victims and their families, nor the police, nor a public fed up with alcohol fuelled violence across WA.

Police last week revealed they would not be appealing the 12-month suspended jail term given to Dylan Robert Thomas, who violently punched two victims to the ground on the same night.

At the time of sentencing, former top WA cop Karl O’Callaghan said the sentence was “unacceptable”.

So why has an appeal been ruled out?

The DPP found that under current laws, the penalty could be considered "reasonable". 

The decision came as Ivy League college student Joshua Robert Billington was jailed, but released on bail with a suspended sentence after an appeal over a coward punch attack in Leederville in August.

Given that there has been at least 10 deadly one-punch attacks in WA in the past decade, with six separate attacks recorded in 2017, are we happy with this?

In these incidents, the perpetrators were overwhelming men affected by alcohol.

The attacks were not restricted to Perth's nightclub scene, but extended to our regional cities and towns. 

Violent incidents in 2017 included one in which a Perth grandfather was killed outside a pizza shop, one where a man was left critically injured in Busselton and one that left a police officer badly hurt after trying to break up out-of-control teenagers in Madora Bay.

In Mandurah, the man who fatally punched Jason Goodwin in 2016 has been jailed for seven years, but with time already served and parole, he could be out in four.

What message does this send to all the other cowards out there who think being drunk is somehow an excuse to hurt others?

Leading the growing call for harsher penalties are Jason Goodwin's parents, Kevin and Michelle.

In the words of Kevin, who watched his son die in hospital, "I don't know how you're going to stop people doing this unless they know there's something serious at the other end of it for them.”

It's time the state's leaders punched back at cowards with some appropriate and meaningful penalties.