Danny Green’s ‘coward punch’ campaign wins praise in prison death

Coroner Sarah Linton has backed boxer Danny Green’s “coward’s punch” campaign, saying she hopes his message is being heard and heeded.

Ms Linton yesterday released her findings into the death of sentenced prisoner Troy Allan Roginson, 35, who was fatally punched at wooroloo Prison Farm in April 2014.

Roginson was punched once by fellow inmate Robert Garlett after he told the younger man not to sit in his spot in the dining area.

Ms Linton said thanks to Green’s recent public efforts, what Garlett did to Roginson was no longer called a king hit and was more appropriately known as a coward’s punch.

“The public message that is sought to be conveyed is that a single thoughtless act done in anger can have devastating and irreversible consequences, so young people should think twice before resorting to violence,” Ms Linton said.

“It is to be hoped that, two years on from the needless death of the deceased, that message is now being heard and heeded more often.”

Garlett was sitting with another prisoner, Darren Polak, when Roginson told him not to sit at his table in future.

The pair found Roginson when they finished eating and Garlett punched him once to the chin, causing him to fall backwards and hit his head on the concrete path. Roginson immediately started convulsing and was take to Royal Perth Hospital.

There were no nurses on duty at the time but Ms Linton found Trained prison officers provided suitable first aid while waiting for the ambulance.

Garlett was sentenced to almost three years behind bards for assault causing death in June last year.

Th inquest was told this was the first time a prisoner had seriously assaulted antoher inmate at Wooroloo.

“The argument was over a minor matter of seating arrangements in the dining area,” Ms Linton said.

“It should have started and finished in the dining area but the two yougner men chose to pursue the deceased.

”As they often do, the single punch had immediate and fatal consequences.”

Ms Linton found there was nothing the department of Corrective Services did or failed to do that contributed to Roginson’s death.

Roginson was at the time serving four years in jail for a string of offences including burglary and possession of stolen and unlawfully obtained property.

Ms Linton said his prison record showed satisfactory behaviour at Wooroloo with no loss of privileges.

“he was described by unit staff as polite and courteous and a good worker who was pleasant and respectful to staff and prisoners,” she said.

Coronial inquests are mandatory after the death of a sentenced prisoner.

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Danny Green fights for coward punch education

Changing the legislation of one-punch assaults to be called ‘coward’s punch’ and educating children from a young age are on world champion boxer Danny Green’s agenda.

Green was in Mildura this week as part of his one-punch assault campaign, on the request of police and venue operators.

Danny Green spoke to Year 12 students and the general public to drive home his message about coward punches.

“One horrible split second wrong decision could change your life and your family’s lives forever, as well as the victim, and their families’ lives forever — in one split second,” he said.

Green aims to give people, particularly young people, strategies to avoid violent situations and reiterate the community’s distaste for the violence.

“Being a fighter — there is no correlation between what I do as a sport and what happens on the streets,” he said.

“I’m trying to get the vernacular changed within the legislation so it’s termed a coward’s punch, not a one-punch attack because I feel it glorifies the offence to an extent.

“That negative connotation I think would go a long way and be a very powerful, impacting tactic to simply stop blokes doing it, just for that reason. That’s a very powerful message, a powerful tactic that doesn’t cost a cent that would have wide ranging exposure and impact.”

Green said he was seeking government funding to host presentations at convention centres, allowing him to educate up to 5,000 students about the effects of serious assaults.

“We could hand out information packs, and those kids might throw them in the bin but, out of those thousands Australia-wide, if it saves 10 lives then it’s paid for itself,” he said.

“It’s important to also educate fathers and grown men. Blokes need to be educating their kids on what is wrong.”

“To ring a complete stranger when they are suffering the worst, most traumatic moment that they are ever going to experience and have to cold-call them, it’s really difficult for me, emotionally,” he said.

“I’ve seen two kids, I’ve been with them two or three hours before they have died. One kid was woken up with steroids, his parents woke him so he could say goodbye.

“It’s just been harrowing. To have ring these people it really drains your soul. It does make me know and realise how lucky I am.

“I’m ringing these people, and I don’t know them, I don’t know what to say to them. I have to console these people that are in shock, totally in shock.

“Sometimes dad is a fan, and sometimes they think me calling them is going to make a difference, so I’ve got to do it. But it’s really hard.”

Serious assault trend in Mildura

Sergeant Patrick Bell, of Mildura police, said serious assaults occurred ‘far too regularly’, and most were alcohol-fuelled.

“One person getting seriously injured is one person too many,” he said.

“A lot of lives have been ruined as a result of serious assaults on our streets, and it is something we thought really needed to be addressed.

“The reason I got involved in this is because of footballers being involved in this.

“But that’s not to say they are the only ones in our community who commit serious assaults — they’re only a very small part of it.”

“I was part of a handful of Mildura police that identified that there is an issue in relation to people being seriously injured within our local community by people who think it’s okay to behave in that manner.

“We’re really seeing too many of our good kids who play football getting themselves in trouble by making stupid choices, and others being permanently injured as a result of their actions.”

Sgt Bell said police were working with Sunraysia Football Netball League to address the issue. Many footballers were in attendance at Green’s presentation in Mildura.

He praised Green for giving up his time to help address the issue in Mildura.

“It was confronting at times. He speaks to people on their own level. Really, the message he puts across is no different to that of the police and ambulance service, which is that it ruins so many people’s lives.

“Not just the victim, it has an effect on the victim’s family and perpetrator’s family and on the community as a whole,” he said.

“It’s a domino effect that really can upset an entire community.”

Liam Wood, venue operator of two Mildura nightspots, helped organise Green’s visit and said one-punch attacks were an issue locally and Australia-wide.

“To get that vocal person to get the message across, as well as people that deal with it every day like police and ambulance, venue operators and other people within the community, that was a major part,” he said.

“It’s not a huge problem. But it is a problem. Any problem that is not addressed is only going to grow and snow-ball if you turn a blind eye to it.”

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