A statement from Member for Mildura Ali Cupper

I WELCOME the passing into legislation the Crimes Amendment (Manslaughter and Related Offences) Bill 2020 with cautious optimism.

The legislation will increase the penalty from 20 to 25 years’ imprisonment for manslaughter while also introducing a new offence – ‘homicide by firearm’ – to cover manslaughter by firearm.

That offence will have a maximum penalty of 25 years’ imprisonment and a standard sentence of 13 years.

The changes were brought about by advocacy of the family of Karen Belej, who was shot and killed in 2016 by her partner Brandon Leigh Osborn.

The legislation will bring sentences for these types of crimes more closely in line with community expectations.

While I acknowledge this change isn’t going to bring Karen back, and in that sense justice can never be properly served, hopefully her legacy can be strengthened by this reform to the legislation.

I would like to pay tribute to the Belej family who really led the campaign for this change, as well as former Member for Mildura Peter Crisp who originally brought this issue to Victorian Parliament in 2017.