By Clyde Mooney – editor Australian Hotelier

There are further calls for mandatory drug and alcohol testing of perpetrators of street violence in the wake of the latest death from a ‘coward punch’ on New Years’ Eve. 

Industry stakeholders including BOCSAR, the NSW Council for Civil Liberties and the NSW branch of the AHA have backed the suggestion to test those found to have initiated an assault resulting in hospitalisation.  

AHA NSW Director of Policing John Green told TheShout that whatever the catalyst, the guilty parties should be dealt with accordingly.

“The AHA for the last few years has called for the drug testing of offenders arrested for violence in and around licensed premises,” said Green.

“We now have experts calling on the same thing, and we welcome that.

“Recent ‘coward punches’ against innocent people without motive has again thrown a spotlight on the issue. Let’s ensure toxicology tests are conducted to see if there are drugs (prescription or illicit), or alcohol or a combination of both are present.

“At the end of the day, these king hits, coward punches call them whatever, are criminal acts regardless of what the offenders have been taking.

“They shouldn’t be permitted to hide behind a tag of alcohol fuelled, or drug fuelled. It’s a violent crime – plain and simple.”

The proposed testing comes just days after life support for Daniel Christie was turned off after more than a week in a coma following an unprovoked attack by martial arts fighter Shaun McNeil. 

The attack on Christie was just one of several vicious attacks on New Year’s Eve that made headlines, but BOCSAR figures show the incidence of non-domestic violence has been dropping since 2008. 

The figures also show that the majority of attacks happen outside licensed venues and strengthen the argument for greater police presence on the streets. 

The Shout Team

The leading online news service for Australia's beer, wine, spirits and hospitality industries.

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