23 April, 2010

If you’re going to kill someone, choose a victim that nobody likes

That seems to be John Brumby’s advice.

The news that Carl Williams was bashed to death in jail by another inmate on Monday surprised no-one.  He was from a world where you knew that he probably wouldn’t die of natural causes.  The customary waiting period was waived as people went straight to making jokes about Channel 9 announcing Underbelly 4, and that the biggest shock was that the rather pudgy Williams had been in the exercise area. 

Reports on Monday stated that Williams had gone into cardiac arrest after the bashing, but by Wednesday, it had been revealed that he had probably been dead for over twenty minutes before anybody noticed.  In a maximum security prison.

Naturally, this has led to suspicions that the murder was allowed to happen.  There have even been calls for a Royal Commission.  I think that would be a bit much in this case, but I was disturbed by what Premier John Brumby said when brushing aside the suggestion.
“I know there’s been some calls today for a royal commission, to be honest what occurred in the prison was obviously unacceptable, but the person concerned was a serial killer.  I think it would be quite unnecessary and quite inappropriate use of taxpayers' money to have a royal commission.” Source

The fact that Williams was a gangland killer has nothing to do with it.  Murder is murder and the character of the victim is neither here nor there.  Williams was jailed in the interests of punishment, community protection and rehabilitation.  He was not supposed to be abandoned to the rough justice of prison life…. I hope!  And the widespread attitude that this was simply a case of bad guy getting his comeuppance from another bad guy, sidesteps the fact that all the people that Williams killed or had killed were gangsters themselves.  Williams got no sympathy for that, nor should he have.  Everyone should have equal protection under the law – even people like Carl Williams.

An excellent comment by John Birmingham HERE.


  1. I've often thought that putting all the bad people together isn't the best idea. There's got to be a better way.

  2. I'm inclined to agree, but there are too many of them to separate completely. It's a dilemma.

  3. If only there was some big island really far away we could send them to.