Vigilance on punch penalties

A ONE-PUNCH law for Tasmania is not favoured by the state government, which said the current legislation was strong enough.

However, the opposition will ``closely consider'' any measures that could deter serious assaults.

The deaths of two Sydney teenagers from king hits, rapidly being more commonly referred to as coward punches, has sparked an outcry over alcohol-fuelled violence. 

Daniel Christie, 18, died at the weekend afer being punched on New Year's Eve in Sydney. He was hit just metres from where Thomas Kelly, also 18, was struck in 2012. Mr Kelly later died from head injuries.

The NSW government has responded by promising  ``one-punch'' laws that carry a maximum 20 years' jail.

The law would make it easy to get convictions by removing the need to prove a defendant knew a ``king hit'' would be fatal.

Yesterday Tasmania's Attorney-General Brian Wightman said king-hit assailants already faced  stiff penalties in this state.

``These are coward punches and we must be really vigilant and make sure that we warn our loves ones that if they go out to drink to be very careful,'' he said.

``But I make the point that our criminal code is very strong.''

Assaults, manslaughter and bodily harm all carry a  maximum of 21 years' jail in Tasmania. Murder can attract life terms.

``I know some states are looking at one-punch laws and some have obviously enacted (them) and we'll keep a close eye on that,'' he said.

The Liberals have already signalled mandatory minimum jail terms for assaults on emergency service workers if elected. 

``We would also closely consider any legislation that would act as a wider deterrent to serious assaults,'' opposition police spokeswoman Elise Archer said.

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