'King hit' man loses appeal
A man who killed a Sky TV employee with one punch outside an Auckland bar has lost an appeal to have his sentence cut.
Kit John Murray was convicted of manslaughter at trial last August and jailed for five years after he "king hit" Billy Dawson, 34, outside the Spy Bar during the Rugby World Cup in 2011.
Murray appealed against the sentence, saying it was too harsh, and the assault did not involve "extreme violence".
Murray's friends had been in a scuffle with Dawson before he broke it up.
Murray then, without warning, punched Dawson in the face and knocked him unconscious, causing his head to hit the pavement with a "sickening thud", the court heard.
Witnesses described how Dawson was unconscious before he hit the ground. He died in hospital.
In the Court of Appeal, Murray's lawyer, Andrew Speed, accepted that the punch was hard but did not fall into the category of "extreme violence", which resulted in a lift of one year at sentencing.
Speed said Dawson was a big man, 1.96 metres tall, and had been drinking, whereas his client was significantly smaller and had not drunk alcohol or consumed drugs on the night of the incident.
"It was a single punch by a not particularly heavily built chap," he said.
A sentence of three to four years' jail should have been imposed, he said.
The Court of Appeal today rejected Murray's bid, saying he was on bail for other violent offending at the time he punched Dawson.
The judges said that although Murray landed just one punch "it was administered with as much force as the appellant could muster" and was described by a witness as "one massive punch".
Murray was a former doorman in bars or nightclubs "and would therefore have appreciated the probable consequences of his conduct".