Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Beating and kicking him mercilessly was totally out of character

  In local news this week...

A 23-YEAR-OLD man who “mercilessly beat” a Deakin University security guard has escaped jail time. Joel Murcia pleaded guilty in the Ringwood Magistrates’ Court on Thursday, June 3, to recklessly causing serious injury. The court heard Murcia punched his defenceless victim, Sandi Singh, 17 times, kicked him five times and kneed him once.
Ringwood Magistrate Max Cashmore sentenced Murcia to a four-month intensive corrections order, which will require him to undergo community work, report to authorities twice a week and undergo counselling.
Mr Cashmore said “it was but for the grace of God the victim was not killed” in the frenzied 53-second attack.
The court heard that on September 24 Murcia, co-accused Richard Keane and another man were vandalising a Deakin University sign at 2am after drinking heavily at its bar. Mr Singh and another guard spotted the trio and then an argument and fight broke out. Mr Cashmore said Mr Singh, who was in court, and his colleague were simply doing their jobs and were beaten mercilessly for it. “I’m sorry to you, Mr Singh, and the community is sorry that someone doing his job has to put up with this type of conduct,” he said.
Defence barrister Wayne Henwood told the court his client had finished an arts degree and was attempting to secure work in the film industry. Mr Henwood said a conviction would severely damage his chances of landing a job. “This 53 seconds of madness was totally out of character for my client and he will not re-offend,” Mr Henwood said. But Mr Cashmore said a conviction must be recorded and Murcia only escaped jail because of his age and good references.
In February, co-accused Keane pleaded guilty to recklessly causing injury and received a nine-month community service order without a conviction.

That attack was reported here originally.
I originally came across this story due to my following the issue of anti-Indian violence in Australia. Now the fact that the bashed man was Indian may not be a relevant detail, so I won't focus on it. (Which doesn't mean definitely it wasn't a factor, mind you.) However while racism was clearly one factor in the apparent phenomenon of "curry-bashing", the kind of recklessly aggressive mentality exemplified by Keane and Murcia tells you more about why such things occur, in my opinion.
The attack was caught on CCTV and you can witness it below:

Remember though that Joel Murcia is not some stereotypical street thug from an underprivileged background. He's someone who appears to have gone to a good school and completed an Arts degree.
“This 53 seconds of madness was totally out of character for my client and he will not re-offend,” said Murcia's barrister. I'm in no position to say whether that is true or not, but it makes me wonder; what does actually determines one's character?  What about him and his mates vandalising the University sign? Was that "out of character" as well? Plenty of people get drunk every week yet manage to avoid committing crimes while in that state.

Is he of good character because he manages to avoid committing random violence most of the time? Or do we truly judge a man's character on how he acts when placed in a challenging situation? Most people, if caught drunkenly committing a petty crime (and let's be honest, there are plenty of us guys who have done something like that), would either cop it sweet or try to run away. What does it say about the character of a group of people who choose instead to fight security, using the advantage of 3 on 2, and not only that but to mercilessly beat them, kicking and kneeing the men when they are on the ground?

As for the other defendant named in the case, Richard "Ox" Keane, you can check out this Facebook group, seemingly set up by his friends, and judge for yourself what kind of character he might be.

Kicked to death by "persons of good character"

The truth about violence against Indians in Australia

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