A Family's Outrage At Coward Punch Killer Teaching Students
“Our view is that he hasn’t earned the right to be talking to anyone.”
A controversial prison program that has allowed the man responsible for the coward punch death of Patrick Cronin to lecture Victorian students is to be urgently reviewed.
Andrew Lee took the life of 19-year-old Patrick Cronin with a single punch. Patrick had been trying to coax his mates out of a scuffle, when Lee felled him with a blow to the head.
Patrick never regained consciousness.
Now Lee, who was sentenced less than a year ago, is taking part in a Corrections Victoria program that urges prisoners to tell their stories to Legal Studies students.
But Lee’s level of remorse for Patrick’s death has constantly been questioned and now he has launched an appeal against his jail term.
He was sentenced to eight years prison with a minimum of five. But he believes three or four years would be more appropriate.
Patrick Cronin’s parents only found out last night that their son’s killer is being given special prison privileges.
“Our view is that he hasn’t earned the right to be talking to anyone,” Matt Cronin told Ten Eyewitness News.
“Put your head down, do your time, and then maybe you get afforded these sorts of luxuries is what I would say.
“But not yet. Not yet.”
Patrick’s mother Robyn said losing one of her three children has felt like a rollercoaster.
“And things like this happen, and you’re just right back down again,” she said.
“He was put in prison to be away from society. He’s been in there for less than six months and suddenly they’re allowing society and him to interact again.
“So how do we pick ourselves up from that and fix this? When is it more important how we feel?”
The Premier of Victoria, Daniel Andrews, has ordered an urgent review into the program.
“Our oldest son Noah goes into Year 11 next year and I would not want him sitting down, being lectured by someone who has killed a young person,” he said.
“We are asking questions about the types of prisoners that are involved in this program.”
In a statement, Corrections Victoria said the program has been operating for “about 30 years.”
And that while it acknowledges the Cronin family’s “incredibly painful loss," the program is a “powerful way to help young people understand the life altering consequences of involvement in crime.”
A decision on Lee’s appeal is expected before the end of the year.
Patrick Cronin’s parents have set up a foundation in his name and will hold their annual walk for peace in November.