One-punch killer banned from leaving prison to play footy

One-punch killer Dylan Closter has been banned from leaving prison to play football as an urgent review is carried out into the system that allows inmates to join local leagues.

On Tuesday Premier Daniel Andrews expressed his shock at the program, revealed on Monday in a Seven News investigation.

“I was, like most Victorians, shocked to learn that someone who had been convicted of such a serious offence, a cowardly offence, was being allowed to play football,” he said.

Closter had been given freedom to play football while serving a minimum of six years behind bars for manslaughter after the death of David Cassai in 2012.

Dylan Closter has now been banned from playing football in a local league while behind bars. Source: 7News
Premier Daniel Andrews revealed his shock at the initiative that allowed Closter to leave prison on weekends. Source: 7News

He’s now been banned from weekend football games, which he’s been playing since April.

“There will be no football or any other day release services while that review is being conducted”, Andrews said.

The Opposition has pledged to conduct its own review of the prison day release program.

“People who have been committed for violent acts and put behind bars should not be playing football on the weekend, socialising and having a good time,” Opposition leader Matthew Guy said.

David Cassai was killed in a one-punch attack by Closter on the Mornington Peninsula in 2012. Source: 7News

Eleven inmates from low-security facility Dhurrungile, including Closter, have been playing for three different clubs.

There’s no legal requirement to tell the league or the teams what crimes they’ve committed.

“There’s a confidence and a level of trust in the system where those players wouldn’t be eligible unless Corrections Victoria felt they were eligible to participate,” AFL Goulburn Murray’s general manager Martin Gleeson said.

Opposition leader Matthew Guy said the move to allow Closter to play was unacceptable. Source: 7News

The football rehabilitation program has been running for eight years. Prisoners apply to play and a risk assessment determines whether they’re suitable.

The risk assessment includes whether the prisoner poses any risk to the community or community members; if they have addressed their offending behaviour; and their general behaviour in prison, Corrections Commissioner Dr Emma Cassar said.

The government has ordered Corrections Victoria to ban prisoners with violent convictions from participating in the program.

The review will look into concerns around the issue and how Closter was allowed to play.

The Premier has apologised to Mr Cassai’s mother, Caterina Politi, for the renewed trauma the Corrections Victoria decision has caused.