OPINION: Brutal killings left me in favour of death penalty
THE BRUTAL murder of bride-to-be Stephanie Scott in the NSW rural town of Leeton has, over the past week, horrified the nation.
On the day that should have been among the happiest of their lives, her family and friends gathered instead to celebrate her life and mourn her death.
I can't comment on this particular incident as the man who has been charged with her alleged murder is innocent until proven guilty, but I will say this.
While it's not a popular view - and I fully admit that and accept that the majority of the population opposes my stand - I still believe in the concept of capital punishment.
Before you all reach for the keyboard to fire off a letter to the editor, I hold that position through catastrophic personal loss.
In August, 1978, three members of my immediate family were kidnapped and slaughtered by a random by-passer.
To this day, the perpetrator - who later escaped from custody, kidnapping and raping two young women in a two-week reign of terror in Sydney in 1979 - has still not told the truth about the murders publicly, although he has since admitted to his legal counsel that he lied to receive a more lenient sentence.
He has "found God" (as you might well expect), but not to the point that he experiences true remorse for his deeds. He remains in jail, hopefully until his death.
I have witnessed first hand the ongoing devastation caused by his crimes.
The loathsome Adrian Bayley, rapist and killer of Jill Meagher in Melbourne in September 2012, pleaded with authorities when he was apprehended to execute him as he would never change his ways.
That didn't stop him from later appealing against the severity of his life sentence. He has since been convicted of a further 12 sexual crimes, including three rapes.
I accept that the majority will disagree with my pro-capital punishment stance and I also accept (but disagree with) the moral arguments against it.
But I would like to suggest that it is time for, at least, a massive overhaul of the justice system in Australia.
A system that bans juries and judges from being informed of prior convictions by accused parties or having knowledge of other charges leveled against the accused while hearing evidence for a particular crime.
A system that routinely allows plea-bargaining, resulting in shorter sentences for serious offenders.
A system that releases serious offenders from jail prior to their sentences being completed, often leaving them free to reoffend.
The man who killed my family members was on parole for armed robbery with violence, some 18 months before he was eligible, when he committed the crimes.
It's the only system we have, but I believe it is broken and needs fixing, fast.