“What would it take to be sentenced to life in Victoria?”
That’s the question some families of those killed by James Gargasoulas are asking after he was handed six life imprisonments with a 46-year parole period in the Victoria Supreme Court on Friday.
Justice Mark Weinberg's described Gargasoulas’s actions, which killed six people and injured dozens more in January 2018, as one of the “worst examples of mass murder in Australian history”.
He was handed six life sentences, but the 29-year-old will be eligible for parole in 2063, when he's 73 – something the families say isn’t enough.
The victims’ families have released a joint statement in response to today’s sentence, saying murderers like Gargasoulas "should never be allowed to roam freely".
"The sentence is not harsh enough," the families of five victims said in the statement.
Lawyer Genna Angelowitsch, who represents five families said, while some accepted the sentence, some of her clients were finding the parole period difficult to comprehend.
“There are families who find it difficult and are certainly asking questions about just what would it take to be sentenced to life in Victoria?”
Gargasoulas, who suffers treatment-resistant paranoid schizophrenia, was found fit to stand trial.
He had been using "ice" and committing crimes in the weeks before the attack and was on bail, "ironically" meant to face court on the day of the massacre, the judge noted.