A young man accused of a deadly assault at a Western Sydney party is the first person to be charged under the State Government’s controversial one-punch mandatory sentence laws.

The 21-year-old did not apply for bail today, and will face court again in July.

Under the new laws, if found guilty, he faces a minimum of eight years in prison. The laws apply to anyone found guilty of killing someone with a single punch while drunk or on drugs.

The case comes in the wake of the high profile death of Thomas Kelly in Kings Cross in 2012. Kelly’s killer was sentenced to five years and two months gaol. The sentence is being appealed by the Crown, on the grounds it is ‘manifestly inadequate’.

The Illawarra Mercury reported unofficial NSW Ambulance data indicated there were at least 21 “king hits” in the Illawarra and on the South Coast during 2012 and 2013.

“History has shown that our area has had a prevalence with alcohol-fuelled violence that I don’t want to see again,” Southern Region Police Association of NSW executive member Jason Hogan said.

NSW Ambulance Officers do not officially record the type of offence occasioning someone’s injuries, therefore the data that reveals 11 ‘king-hit’ assaults in Wollongong can only be used as a guideline to the number of king hits in the region in the past 12 months.

Twenty-one incidents were reported across the wider South Coast region in the same time period.

“At all levels of government, community and industry, we need to keep working together to ensure those that wish to go out and enjoy their night out do so and get home without being assaulted,” he said.

Wollongong University Students shared their thoughts on the new legislation, and whether or not any real change will be brought about in reaction to them.

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