We need to talk about the death penalty


On Monday afternoon in the Western Sydney suburb of Guildford a vicious and unimaginable attack took place.  This was no ordinary assault; this was an attack on a defenceless innocent 2 year old toddler by a solidly built 23 year old male.

The assault took place in a granny flat in Marian Street, Guildford in front of the mother.  The mother was able to intervene and escape with the child, driving to a relative’s home in McCredie Road, Guildford West.  Neighbours heard the mother scream “You have killed my baby!”

blankPicture: Marian Street, Guildford (Courtesy of Google Street View)

Police arrived on the scene at 3:30pm; the girl was unconscious and not breathing in the back of the mother’s car.  CPR was performed by officers until paramedics arrived and rushed the girl to hospital.  Upon arrival at Westmead hospital the girl was listed as being in a critical condition.  Despite the best possible care by medical professionals at Westmead the girl died late on Tuesday night.

23 year old Mohammed Khazma was arrested in a nearby park at around 5:00pm on Monday afternoon and charged with reckless assault causing grievous bodily harm.  Mr Khazma’s case was mentioned on Tuesday at Parramatta court, where he did not apply for bail.  It is expected that the charges will be upgraded to Murder when the next court appearance takes place on January 12th.

This incident is one which shocks society to the core, we all struggle to believe that anyone can be filled with such darkness that they would attack and kill such an innocent child.  But unfortunately we see to many incidents like this.  There is no goodness in a human who can commit such an evil act, there is no hope of rehabilitation and even if you want to argue that there is that hope, it is irrelevant because anyone who can commit such a crime does not deserve the chance for rehabilitation.

This is why we need to talk about the death penalty.  What possible reason is there to keep a man like Mohammed alive if he is found guilty of the crimes above?  A defenceless child is now deceased, a life ripped away far too early.  A mother whose heart is shattered beyond repair, her life will never be the same.  The actions of Mr Khazma go beyond any words this writer can express; they can only be committed by the darkest of souls.  The death penalty is the only sane option in this case.

Some in society will argue that he deserves to suffer and be locked away in prison for his remaining days on this earth, but the reality is that whilst prisons are tough, if an inmate gets into the right crowd, his time in prison is not that bad.  They are fed, clothed; they have TV, the Gym and friendship with fellow inmates.  This is not punishment, yes they lose their freedom but they still get to live and they still have enjoyable moments.  Things that the poor child cannot experience, not to mention that the mother has been handed a life sentence, an incomprehensible loss and pain which she will experience every day of the remainder of her life.

As of 2014 our prison system was costing taxpayers $2.6 billion per year.  Each prisoner costs $292 per day.  If Mr Khazma was sentenced to life in prison and lived to 80 years of age, the cost to taxpayers would be a minimum of $6,075,060 based on the 2014 figures.  This is an unacceptable expense to house a monster.  Whilst there are many ethical, moral and even religious reasons for people to be against the death penalty, in some cases there really is no reason to give the offender the right to life.  At the point when a human takes the life of another human then the death penalty needs to be on the table.  For the most incomprehensible crimes like the murder of a child, or the repeated rape and murder of a woman, then it is at these times that the death penalty really should be dusted off and brought back into legislation.

Whilst most criminal legislation falls on the responsibility of our state governments, our federal government introduced legislation into parliament in 2010 permanently blocking the ability for any state or territory to reintroduce the death penalty in Australia.  To reintroduce this penalty it will take an act of our federal parliament.  Now is the time to have a long and frank discussion about that possibility.

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