Charges: Damaging property, breach of domestic violence order, assault
Appeal type: Appeal against sentence
Facts: The appellant, an Aboriginal man, and the victim were in a relationship and had a son together. The appellant and victim also both had a daughter each from previous relationships. He was charged and convicted of damaging property, assault and breaching a domestic violence order made to protect the victim. No further information about the offending or factual matrix was provided. Since his arrest and while on bail, the appellant attended Oolong House several times where he received rehabilitative treatment. The magistrate sentenced the appellant to 12 months’ imprisonment each for the assault and damaging property offences, to be served concurrently, and two years’ imprisonment for the breach of the domestic violence order. In sentencing, the magistrate stated ‘The current offences continue a pattern of behaviour that appears entrenched in the context of the relationship with the victim. Despite legal sanctions and protection orders, [the appellant] has yet to demonstrate the responsibility to abide by conditions to uphold the safety of vulnerable people in his life. Under the influence of substances his behaviour poses unacceptable risks for such people’ ().
The appellant had a somewhat difficult childhood with his parents divorcing after his father suffered a stroke and his mother abusing alcohol. He finished school at year 10 and had very limited and sporadic employment since then. He had a long history of alcohol and drug abuse and engaged in residential rehabilitation several times. The appellant also suffered depression, stress and anxiety and was housed in the AMC Crisis Support Unit since his remand due to his risk of suicide and/or self-harm. He had an extensive history of criminal offending, including convictions for common assault, assault occasioning actual bodily harm and contravening protection orders against the victim.
Issues: Some grounds of appeal were:
Decision and reasoning: The appeal was dismissed.