Man Sentenced To 10 Years Jail Under Victoria's New One-Punch Legislation
A man in Victoria has been handed the new minimum jail sentence for a deadly one-punch attack.
Joseph Esmaili has been jailed for 10 years and six months after punching and killing Melbourne heart surgeon Patrick Pritzwald-Stegmann in 2017.
The victim was hit in the city's east during an argument about smoking, causing him to fall back and smack his head on the ground.
The 24-year-old ran from the scene with his mates and retreated to a family home however was arrested the next day and taken into custody for questioning.
Patrick asked Esmaili to stop smoking in a non-smoking area outside the entrance to Box Hill Hospital, but instead of walking away, Esmaili attacked.
In handing down the sentence, Justice Elizabeth Hollingworth said: "Suddenly and without warning...you punched him with a clenched fist to the head.
"Unfortunately neither of you was prepared to simply walk away from the argument.
Victoria's new one-punch laws gives judges the opportunity to hand a minimum 10 year jail sentence if that the punch was deliberate, it was to the head or neck, the victim would not have expected it, and the attacker probably knew the victim was not expecting to be punched.
During the trial, Esmaili's lawyer claimed that it wasn't the punch that killed Patrick but his family's decision to turn off his life support system. The defence attorney also tried to argue a self-defence scenario but it was slapped down.
Judge Hollingworth said: "The verbal exchanges between the two of you became louder and more aggressive, as time went on. Several times, you turned to walk away; each time, Mr Pritzwald-Stegmann followed you, continuing to insist that you leave the hospital.
"Each time he did that, you turned back and went and stood close to him, yelling angrily in his face. Unfortunately, neither of you was prepared to simply walk away from the argument.
"The trial was also traumatic for them in particular because you accepted no responsibility and continued to blame Mr Pritzwald-Stegmann for what happened at the hospital.
"Having regard to the circumstances of the offending, your personal circumstances, and general sentencing principles, for the offence of manslaughter I sentence you to 10 years and 6 months imprisonment."
Victoria's one-punch laws came into effect in 2014.
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