Five years on from the Bob Knight Shooting: what have we learned?

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The offender, Mahmoud Mariam, seemed to show little remorse when he was originally sentenced to at least five years and nine months behind bars in 2012.

The son of Mr Knight couldn’t believe the cheering when the verdicts were handed down.

He predicted that this would not be the last person to get shot in Sydney.

At the end of last year, a tougher sentence was handed down, after the NSW Director of Public Prosecutions appealed leniency of the sentence.

Three more years and nine months were added on to the sentence by the Court of Criminal Appeal.

The family of Bob Knight was surprised but pleased that the appeal was successful.

It has been five years since the fatal shooting of Bob Knight in Milperra.

It is a tragedy whereby an innocent truck driver ended up dead.

Waiting at a set of traffic lights, Bob Knight was oblivious to the fight occurring nearby until a bullet flew through the trees and hit him.

The bullet unbelievably crossed over six lanes of traffic before hitting Knight as he was driving home.

The two men and one juvenile were originally charged with murder, but were found guilty of manslaughter instead.

Eleven young men had congregated in a KFC car park one night to sort out an internal dispute. They brought guns.

Although the jury were told that it didn’t matter whether or not the bullet struck the intended victim or another person, all three who were charged with the murder were acquitted.

But five years on, has anything changed?

Shootings in Western Sydney are not a thing of the past.

Sadly, the tragic Bob Knight shooting has had little impact on subsequent shooting rates.

According to the NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research, 44% of all non fatal shootings in 2012 occurred in Western Sydney: comprising Canterbury-Bankstown; Fairfield-Liverpool and Central Western Sydney.

Only 15% of all NSW residents live in this area.

A significant proportion of these shooting are believed to be related either drugs, gangs or organised crime. Young males tend to be the most common offenders.

In NSW in the period from June 2013 to June 2014, there were 81 murders in Australia and 2 manslaughter charges.

While the number of times guns have been unlawfully discharged is less than last year, there were still 96 recorded incidents in the first five months.

The amount of firearms that have been found and seized in the recent police operation aimed at getting guns off the streets demonstrates that many unregistered and illegal weapons are still at large within the community.

There have been calls to toughen measures aimed at cracking down on the illegal possession of firearms and the illegal discharge of guns.

Earlier this year, NSW police carried out ‘Operation Unification’ to get guns off the streets and ultimately decrease the number of injuries and deaths from the use of firearms.

The launch was attended by the family of Bob Knight, keenly aware that their dad would still be alive today if it hadn’t been for the use of guns.

The operation has resulted in the seizure of hundreds of firearms as well as large quantities of ammunition. In fact, police have seized over 8,000 illegal firearms in the past financial year.

Firearms are responsible for 17 per cent of murders, and 25 per cent of attempted murders, but knives are the most common weapon.

Less than one in four non-fatal shootings will actually lead to a criminal charge being brought, so most people ‘get away with it’.

Most shootings in NSW are targeted attacks – but the family of Bob Knight still struggles to accept the uncanny stroke of bad luck when a bullet entered Knight’s truck and struck him.

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About Ugur Nedim

Ugur Nedim is an Accredited Specialist Criminal Lawyer and Principal at Sydney Criminal Lawyers®, Sydney’s Leading Firm of Criminal & Traffic Defence Lawyers.

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