THE Queensland Government should look at introducing laws to restrict carrying hammers which might be used as weapons, a judge suggested today.
In the Supreme Court in Brisbane, Justice Ros Atkinson was taking submissions on the second day of a hearing in which eight men are being sentenced for the bashing death of rugby league star Jonathan Thurston’s uncle Richard Saunders.
Prosecutor Todd Fuller, SC, and defence lawyers for the four men and four juveniles completed their submissions on sentence today.
Mr Fuller asked for sentences ranging from 10 years, with an automatic serious violent offence classification meaning eight years must be served, to five years detention with an immediate release order after time served.
Justice Atkinson will sentence all eight on Thursday.
During submissions for a juvenile offender, Justice Atkinson noted that while he was not the one to use the hammer in the attack the juvenile had been carrying a hammer before the events of the night.
“It is such a dangerous thing to do and it is almost inevitable that somebody would be hurt,” she said.
Justice Atkinson asked Mr Fuller if there should be legislative reform to make carrying a hammer in such circumstances an offence.
Mr Fuller replied he was isn’t in a position to comment but police were aware of the situation.
He said there had been legislation introduced in other areas of concern such as spray cans which were used for substance-sniffing and graffiti.
Justice Atkinson also asked if a formal reconciliation of some kind could be arranged between the Samoan community and the Aboriginal community in Townsville, where Mr Saunders’s family lived.
In March a jury found Vaai Saua Emelio, 19, Likisone Siliga, 27, Len Junior Wilson, 19, and a juvenile, now 17, guilty of the manslaughter of Thurston’s uncle Richard Saunders, 38, but all four were found not guilty of Mr Saunders’ murder.
They were also found guilty of various assaults on two other men in the park, Gordon Dale Willis and Harold John Bond.
Before the trial four others – three juveniles and a fourth man Salomona Tie Tie, 20, – pleaded guilty to manslaughter and various assault charges on Mr Willis and Mr Bond.
Charges were dropped against a ninth man after a key police interview was ruled inadmissible.
The trial had heard Mr Saunders was bashed to death and two others hospitalised after a relatively minor altercation between the men and a group of Samoan teenagers later escalated into a full-scale brawl.