Charge/s: Assault occasioning actual bodily harm, causing grievous bodily harm.
Hearing: Sentencing hearing.
Facts: After consuming a significant quantity of alcohol, Mr Pikula, a man with Aboriginal and Tongan ancestry, began arguing with his step-brother (Mr Mapa). Another step-brother, Mr King, tried to intervene but was stabbed with a knife in the back of his thigh by Mr Pikula (assault occasioning actual bodily harm). The following evening, Mr Pikula again became highly intoxicated and argued with Mr Mapa. He stabbed Mr Mapa twice in the back. The knife wounds punctured his lung (grievous bodily harm).
Decision and Reasoning: Refshauge J sentenced Mr Pikula to 22 months imprisonment for assault occasioning actual bodily harm and 27 months imprisonment for causing grievous bodily harm (cumulative). His Honour also recommended that a condition of Mr Pikula’s parole would include a requirement that he undergo treatment and counselling for alcohol abuse. In imposing this sentence, Refshauge J noted the importance of both general deterrence and specific deterrence (in light of his violent criminal record). The offending was serious here and warranted denunciation. While it had some association with alcohol, which may provide some opportunity for rehabilitation, this could not be said to overwhelm the other purposes of sentencing. His Honour also had regard to Mr Pikula’s troubled childhood and his long history of alcohol abuse.
At , ‘There can be no doubt that one of the marks of a civilised society is that its members can be protected from violence in their lives. While there can, of course, be no guarantee of such protection, nevertheless, the community expects that appropriate steps will be taken to maximise such protection. This is especially true of the need for safety within the family’.