Murder charge for Daniel Christie's death

The martial arts fighter accused of punching Daniel Christie in Sydney's Kings Cross has been charged with murder following the teenager's death in hospital.

Shaun McNeil, 25, was arrested in the popular entertainment precinct after allegedly punching the 18-year-old on New Year's Eve and leaving him in a critical condition in St Vincent's Hospital.

On Saturday, after 11 days in hospital, Mr Christie's life support was turned off.

Yesterday police charged McNeil with murder.

The labourer and self-proclaimed martial arts practitioner had already been charged with maliciously inflicting grievous bodily harm, assault occasioning actual bodily harm and three counts of common assault.

Police allege McNeil hit three young men before targeting Mr Christie and his brother, Peter, when the other young men tried to hide behind them.

McNeil is due to appear before Central Local Court today.

Following Mr Christie's death, NSW Attorney-General Greg Smith said he had asked the acting Director of Public Prosecutions to consider whether a murder charge was more appropriate.

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Mr Smith said he had asked the DPP to determine "if murder charges are appropriate in light of the evidence, and in light of the alleged offender's reported martial arts experience".

Shortly after his death, Mr Christie's family described him as a "beacon of morality".

"No family should be forced to deal with this situation, however we are not the first and we fear that we won't be the last."

Mr Christie was punched in almost the same location as 18-year-old Thomas Kelly, who was fatally punched in July 2012.

Both attacks have prompted growing calls for tougher sentencing for alcohol-related violence.

Yesterday, Mr Kelly's father Ralph delivered a petition with 132,000 signatures to the NSW government calling for tougher sentencing laws for alcohol-related violence.

Following Mr Christie's assault, the petition was updated to call for alcohol and drug intoxication to be seen as "mandatory aggravating factors" in sentencing. 

The Mercury would love to hear about what you think is contributing to alcohol-fuelled violence and any solutions you may have to stopping it. 

Please note: for legal purposes we are unable to publish opinions that comment directly on the McNeil case.

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