The family of a Brisbane bus driver killed in 2016 say the man who set him on fire should never be allowed to walk free after a court declared he was of unsound mind.
Anthony O’Donohue lit a backpack containing a bottle of fuel and threw it at Manmeet Alisher while he was collecting passengers in Moorooka, in Brisbane’s south, in October 2016.
Queensland’s Mental Health Court on Friday declared O’Donohue was of unsound mind at the time, and therefore not criminally responsible for his actions.
He will be held in a mental health facility for at least a decade.
But Mr Alisher’s family say he should never be allowed to walk free.
“He murdered Manmeet, that is out of this world and the thing is, that person should not (be allowed back) into society for the rest of his life,” family spokesman Winnerjit Singh said.
Mr Alisher’s father, Ram Saroop Alisher, said he was unhappy with the outcome but did not have the option of appealing the decision. He is fearful O’Donohue will hurt others if released.
“He shouldn’t be out of the jail,” Mr Alisher said through a translator.
“It could be very dangerous to someone and (he could) kill someone else as well … he is very dangerous for society.”
Mr Singh and Mr Alisher’s longterm friend, Aman Bhangoo, say O’Donohue gamed Australia’s justice system.
“He may or he probably has some mental disability, but at the same time he is a very smart guy who has played well with the laws of Australia and he knew what he was doing,” Mr Bhangoo said.
The men and Parveen Gupta, lawyer for Mr Alisher’s family, say it should be harder for people to use their mental health as a legal defence.
“The laws I think are a bit old,” Mr Gupta said.
“They need to be reviewed so that the defence of mental health is available in very, very limited circumstances.”
Donohue believed there was a grand conspiracy against him and that people were out to get him at the time of the October 28 attack, the court heard.
The court was also told that when Mr Alisher smiled at O’Donohue as he boarded the bus he took that as a sign the driver was part of the conspiracy.
Mr Alisher, also known as Manmeet Sharma, was a beloved Indian singer and well known in the Punjabi community.
His death prompted a huge outpouring of grief and sparked a push for greater safety measures to protect bus drivers. Passengers trapped on the burning bus were saved when taxi driver Aguek Nyok kicked out the back door of the vehicle.