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Mitigating Factors Citied in Restaurant Murder

Posted Oct 02 2008 6:16pm

An Australian judge cited mitigating factors raised in a psychological report to sentence restaurant owner Khanh Vo to seven years in prison for the manslaughter of 56-year old Anh Dung Nguyen. Vo stabbed Nguyen with a small kitchen knife after a fight broke out at the Bon Mua restaurant and karaoke bar in Richmond, Australia on the night of April 16, 2006. Justice Kevin Bell said in passing sentence that Vo, a father of two with no previous convictions, showed remorse by pleading guilty to the crime. In making his sentencing decision, Justice Bell took account of a psychologist's report that said Vo's violent childhood experiences as a refugee from Vietnam in the mid-1980s could have led him to overreact. He lived for a time in a refugee camp described in court as "violent and dangerous", especially for children. The report also suggested that Vo met many criteria depicting a major depressive episode and post-traumatic stress disorder.

Sources state that the fight began within half an hour of Mr Nguyen complaining about the length of time it took for Vo's wife and restaurant co-owner, Vy Huynh, to bring food to his table. After Ms Huynh complained to her husband, Vo recognised Mr Nguyen from a previous occasion in which Mr Nguyen allegedly said he would get a gun and shoot somebody if that person caused him trouble. Following the stabbing, Mr Nguyen was helped from the restaurant but died the next day, Justice Bell said.

Vo has served about 22 months in pre-sentence detention, making him eligible to seek release on parole in 2010.

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