EXCLUSIVE

??The slogan put forward by my opponents of 1am lockouts, of 3am shut-outs, is of no comfort to someone who was assaulted just after 9pm??: Barry O'Farrell.

"The slogan put forward by my opponents of 1am lockouts, of 3am shut-outs, is of no comfort to someone who was assaulted just after 9pm": Barry O'Farrell. Photo: Edwina Pickles

The author of Australia's largest study into alcohol-related nightlife crime has blasted Premier Barry O'Farrell for ''unbelievably stupid'' comments that 1am lockouts and 3am closing times would do little to prevent 9pm assaults such as the one from which Daniel Christie died.

Peter Miller's five-year study found lockouts and early closing times in Newcastle encouraged drinkers to go to venues earlier, instead of pre-loading at home and arriving in the city drunk.

The broadside comes as the family of a Brazilian man killed by a single punch in November implored Mr O'Farrell for justice in their case, and for all victims of alcohol-related crime.

The family of Lucio Stein Rodrigues said his death from a ''closed fist'' blow from a stranger was ''a tragedy of inexcusable proportions'', which threatened to be made worse by an insignificant punishment for his alleged attacker.

In the days after the assault on Daniel Christie on New Year's Eve, Mr O'Farrell defended his inaction on alcohol-fuelled violence by saying the Newcastle measures would have done nothing to prevent incidents earlier in the night, including the fatal attack on teenager Thomas Kelly.

''The slogan put forward by my opponents of 1am lockouts, of 3am shut-outs, is of no comfort to someone who was assaulted just after 9pm,'' he told ABC Radio. ''Of course, Thomas Kelly 18 months ago was killed at the Cross at 10.30 at night.''

The comments echoed those by the Australian Hotels Association that shutting venues would do ''absolutely nothing to help'' and ''flies in the face of commonsense''.

''The latest tragic incident happened at 9.10pm,'' its director of policing, John Green, said on January 2. ''The death of Thomas Kelly happened just after 10pm almost at the same location in Kings Cross; how would further restrictions on venues in the early hours of the morning make any difference?''

Associate Professor Miller, from Deakin University, said it was ''very scary'' for a premier to be parroting the hotel industry rather than looking at evidence-based research. ''It's just a terrible argument. What sort of premier says it wouldn't have changed these two single incidents?'' he said.

''Of course you can't guarantee that specific cases wouldn't have happened but the evidence is that people are in the pubs a lot earlier, not out on the streets, when you have earlier closing times.''

The study, ''Dealing with alcohol-related harm and the night-time economy'', included interviews with 3949 drinkers and five years' worth of data from Newcastle, which has compulsory lockouts and early closing times, and Geelong, which has voluntary measures.

Professor Miller said the researcher could barely find anyone to interview at 11.30pm in Geelong, whereas Newcastle's venues were mostly full by 9pm and their patrons had pre-loaded less. One third of patrons in Geelong had drunk at least five drinks before going out whereas in Newcastle one-quarter had. Those who had were twice as likely to get into a fight, the study found.

A separate study in Newcastle found that for every hour late trading was reduced, hospital admissions fell 7 to 20 per cent.

Acting Premier Andrew Stoner would not elaborate on Mr O'Farrell's comments.

As he backed the Herald's Safer Sydney Campaign, former world boxing champion Danny Green said if the government needed further proof of the public's desire for action, it should look to his social media presence.

''My Facebook site has 330,000 [followers]. I posted something about this horrible incident and 1.7 million people have seen it; [there's] 80,000 'likes' and over 5000 comments,'' Green said.

Daniel Christie's funeral will be held at the Hillsong Auditorium in Baulkham Hills on Friday.