NSW: Police losing fight against blade culture

August 26, 2007, SMH:

SOMEONE in NSW is threatened or attacked with a knife, sword, machete, pair of scissors or other sharpened weapon every two hours and nine minutes.

This is the grim reality of the state's so-called blade culture.

Despite stop-and-search police powers, which were hailed as the country's toughest when introduced a decade ago, more than 2260 people were assaulted with a knife and 1800 people threatened in hold-ups in the past year.

That represents a 20 per cent rise in attacks since 1998, based on a 10-year comparison of knife violence by the state's Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research.

During the same period, police have conducted an estimated 200,000 searches and taken as many as 30,000 knives - eight a day - off the streets.

But blades remain the weapon of choice for standover merchants, murderers and armed robbers. They were used in more than 1800 NSW hold-ups in 2005-06 ...

At least 11 men, three women and two teenagers have been stabbed dead in NSW this year.

"In my day you would solve your differences with your fists," Superintendent Cullen said. "The worst that could happen is the person you were blueing with would come out swinging with a piece of four-by-two." ...
Victims of violence, August 26, 2007, SMH:
CON KARAFYLIS, 37 Stabbed after argument at a Newcastle apartment block last Saturday. Mayfield man Todd Andrew Pearce, 24, charged with murder.

GIRL, 17 Stabbed in chest following argument at guesthouse at Fairfield in Sydney's west on July 30. Craig James Grant, 28, charged with murder.

FATHER, 53, and DAUGHTER, 15 Stabbed, allegedly by a 25-year-old woman at their Revesby home on July 5, with attack thought sparked by dispute over Church of Scientology's stance on psychiatric drugs. Accused charged with two counts of murder and one count of wounding with intent to murder.

GERARD FLEMING, 35 Attacked near bus stop at Narrabeen on Sydney's northern beaches on June 16. Two 16-year-olds charged over the autistic man's murder, one of whom claims he acted in self-defence following sexual advance.

WIFE, 38 Stabbed at Punchbowl apartment on May 24 following domestic dispute. Police say alarm was raised by couple's daughter. Woman's husband, who was shot and injured by police, has been charged with her murder.

SHARNA DE-COURCEY , 20 Mother of two died on a neighbour's doorstep after being stabbed at home at Whalan, in Sydney's west, on March 11. Maumaga Liataua, 40, charged with murder.

SIONE MATAVESI, 22 Father of three stabbed through the heart at Mount Pritchard on January 6. Two men and two youths accused of his murder.

RAJNESH SINGH Police allege he was fatally stabbed by the husband of his 26-year-old mistress, Diane Goundar, at Prestons, in Sydney's west, on February 11. She was charged with his murder. Her co-accused, Munesh Goundar, 27, fled to New Zealand but was arrested and charged in April.

GAYLE WALES, 37 Neighbours woken by screams before attack at Busby, in Sydney's west, on February 5. Police found body in backyard. They charged Steven John Wicks, 47, with murder after finding him in garage.

GORDON FRENCH, 36 Father of three stabbed dead after he was thought to have confronted revellers outside his Newcastle home on January 4. No arrests.

WAYNE CLARK, 44 Police called to reported domestic dispute at victim's home unit at Rozelle on May30. Lynda Maree Cloughessy charged with murder.

MOHAMMED KADER, 63 Chef and father of five stabbed to death as he tried to stop two men robbing Petersham restaurant on January 28. No arrests.

ALLAN FULLER, 37 Father of one rushed to hospital with stab wounds following pub fight at Parramatta on Australia Day. Police charged 21-year-old Greystanes man with murder after he was detained by hotel security.

MARIO ACQUARO, 42 Stabbed outside Crows Nest gelato bar on January 8. Former employee Gordon Szeto, 31, charged with murder and ordered to undergo psychiatric assessment.

BRETT CRITTENDEN, 47 Fatally knifed in chest after altercation at Long Jetty, on Central Coast, on January 26. Mark Allan Forrest, 49, charged with murder.
Fully recovered but scarred forever, August 26, 2007, SMH:
RADIO newsreader Rowan Barker says he will probably wait until his two young sons are impressionable teenagers before he tells them how he was viciously stabbed above the heart - just so he can win bragging rights.

Until then, the story of how he survived the ordeal by millimetres is not one he tells lightly.

More than 18 months after the attack, the affable 2GB radio man is content with wife Stephanie by his side, newborn Allister in her arms and two-year-old Rowan Henry at their feet. But his anger over what happened is never far away.

Barker was knifed four times in the chest, stomach, torso and arm outside his 2005 work Christmas party in the northern Sydney suburb of St Ives. He needed open-heart surgery, spent three days in intensive care and was in hospital for nine days.

His 17-year-old attacker received a two-year suspended sentence. The presiding judge ordered that the youth's rehabilitation would best be undertaken in the community rather than behind bars.

The attorney-general at the time, Bob Debus, ordered a review of the case but prosecutors declined to go through with an appeal.

Barker was devastated.

While he still harbours ill will over the outcome, Barker said yesterday it wasn't his only concern.

"The first thing that still gets me is that people carry knives in the first place," he said. "It sounds like a truism, but if they don't carry them, people don't get stabbed. But it's just astonishing how often it happens ...

Mrs Barker said one of the hardest things they struggled with as a couple was that her husband took so long to get well.

"It seemed like everyone was there to help this guy [who stabbed him] and to make sure he was OK," she said. "Meanwhile, we're at home wondering how much more annual leave Rowan needed to take."

Barker says of the emotional scarring: "It's something that'll stay with me for life."


Anonymous said...

Thou shall not judge someone until he walks in his shoes. Perhaps the teenager was provoked. Perhaps it was SELF DEFENSE. Judge Nicholson reviewed every bit of evidence and understood the circumstances 100%. The teenager is sorry, he has apologized, he has attempted to personally apologize and he CAN NOT go back in time and take back what he did, he has done everything in his power to make things right, not that he ever could but he is not a danger to society he is in fact a peace maker.

Abandon Skip said...

I presume you are talking about the Rowan Barker case ...

I think you miss the point of my blog. These are not isolated cases. There is an escalation of militant attitude out there. I am interested in the bigger picture. I am interested in preventing society from degrading to the point where a typical teenager feels the need to carry a knife, and use it, at the slightest provocation (or no provocation).

Judging Rowan Barker from his radio personality, he's as gentle as they come. I can't see him provoking a fight.

In any case, this blog is about documenting a decline in civility, community, cohesion, and care for fellow citizens - and looking for causes and ways to turn it around.

If you feel empathy for this teenager, knock yourself out. If he's now rehabilitated, great. But just realise he's one hole in a leaky bucket. That one hole may now be plugged, but the bucket still leaks.

Did the judge think about the bigger picture when he gave a suspended sentence? No, all he was concerned about was rehabilitation of the teenager. Did he have any concern for a sense of justice for a man who was milliemeters away from death? No. And he missed the bigger picture - a suspended sentence is NO DETERRENT to others, it's only a deterrent to this one teenager.

There's a lot more than one teenager at stake here.