MELBOURNE, 28 Jan 2009: An Ethiopian migrant who viciously bashed a Malaysian father of four to death with a full bottle of wine in a random attack was today jailed for eight years.
The 16-year-old attacker, identified only as AO, had attacked Lim Per Leong, 45, in a Springvale park as he was walking home and repeatedly hit him over the head with a bottle of Passion Pop on 3 March 2007, the Australian Associated Press (AAP) reported.
The Victorian Supreme Court was told that the attacker had been drinking in the park with his friends before the bashing.
Lim, who was in Australia to make money to send to his family, died of a severe head injury.
AO also stole Lim’s wallet and mobile phone. He was originally charged with murder, but pleaded guilty to manslaughter and armed robbery. He was ordered to serve a minimum of four years in prison.
The court was told AO came to Australia from Ethiopia at the age of 12 to flee violence between troops from his homeland and Somalia.
He witnessed people being killed and his family lived in extreme poverty, the court was told.
But Victorian Supreme Court Justice Paul Coghlan said it was a culture of drinking alcohol AO learnt after he arrived in Australia that led to him being in the park that night.
“Drinking of this kind is more a product of our culture than the culture and background from which you come,” Justice Coghlan was quoted by AAP as saying.
“It is imperative that our community take a stand. It needs to become clear to our young men and women that enjoyment of life and position in society is not to be measured or driven by ever-increasing consumption of alcohol.”
Justice Coghlan described the attack on Lim as “vicious and sustained”.
He said AO bent over Lim’s body and shook it.
But Justice Coghlan said AO, who was tried as a child in the Supreme Court, had shown some remorse.
The court was told AO was convicted and fined last year in the Children’s Court over a similar attack in which he seriously injured his victim. That attack happened just six days after Lim’s killing.
Although he ordered AO to serve a minimum of four years in prison, he will be eligible to serve the sentence in a Youth Justice Centre. — Bernama