Once again, our justice system has let us down badly. Kieran Loveridge king-hit Thomas Kelly so hard, his heartbroken parents had to turn off his life support two days later. Thomas wasn't looking for trouble, he was just walking along the street holding hands with his girlfriend. Loveridge on the other hand, was looking for trouble, he went out that night with the intention of bashing as many people as he could, just for fun, and Thomas was just one of five other assaults he committed that night.
The circumstances of this case would lead most people to conclude that Loveridge murdered Thomas Kelly, but the Department of Public Prosecutions (DPP) didn't agree. All he had to do was plead guilty and he would be charged with manslaughter and receive a much lighter sentence.
And that's exactly what happened in the Sydney Supreme Court yesterday. Loveridge was sentenced to a maximum of six years in jail for manslaughter plus another 18 months for four other assaults he committed on the same night and will be eligible for parole in November 2017 after serving five years and two months.
Justice Stephen Campbell said ".......I have formed the impression that Thomas must have been a wonderful young man full of promise for the future and of whom his parents were justly proud." But when the judge saw Loveridge weep when the Kelly family read out their victim impact statement, he took it as a sign of remorse. He said that because Loveridge was drunk, he was unable or unwilling to control his aggressive urges and he thought it unlikely that he would re-offend - he had "well and truly learnt his lesson."
Parents in shock
To me, that sounds like a lot of sympathy for the perpetrator and none for the victim. I wonder what the judge would have said to Loveridge if it had been his son lying in that hospital bed dying from massive head injuries. The legal system seems to be saying to the parents it was just an unfortunate incident but there are good prospects for the killer to be rehabilitated. Who cares if he's rehabilitated? He needs to be held to account for killing an innocent young man for no reason.
New South Wales Attorney General Greg Smith will ask the Director of the DPP to appeal against the sentence and if there was ever a good reason for appeal - this is it.