By Andrew Starke
The leniency of sentences handed down to four men convicted of the manslaughter of a Woolloomooloo publican during a pub brawl in 2004 has again been called into question.
The Daily Telegraph today (Feb 1) reported that two of his assailants are already out of jail while a third will apply for parole next month – less than six years after the death of Bells Hotel owner, Shane Miles.
Miles died after being struck in the head by a bar stool hurled during a fight at the family-owned and operated pub in the early hours of December 18, 2004.
The Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) was widely criticised for imposing what many in the industry felt was a lenient sentence at the time, with the Attorney-General’s office even mounting a 2007 investigation into complaints over the way the DPP’s office had dealt with the victim’s family.
Joseph Leota, Taniela Motuapuaka, Etuate Taiseni and Aminiasi Tuifua were all convicted of the manslaughter of Miles and the malicious injury of a hotel patron, Gerard Meehan.
The court found that Leota had returned to the bar with his friends after an altercation with Meehan and that Miles was an innocent bystander.
Taiseni and Tuifua were released more than a year ago while Motuopuaka is up for a parole hearing on March 1.
Leota received 3½ years for manslaughter and four years for inflicting grievously bodily harm.
Miles’ sister Erin Petersen yesterday told The Daily Telegraph that their ordeal had left the family’s faith in the legal system at ‘zero’.
"It is absolutely disgraceful," Petersen said. "My brother’s life was worth nothing."
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