Offences: Common assault x 1; Assault occasioning bodily harm x1.
Proceedings: Application for bail
Issues: Whether to grant bail; Relevance of the COVID-19 pandemic
Facts: The female victim was married to the accused man and it is alleged that he believed she was conducting an affair with another man (his mother told him she exchanged telephone numbers with a real estate agent) at the time of the alleged offending. It is alleged that the accused became jealous and "punched the victim repeatedly to the face and body, before tackling her to the ground and continuing to punch her."  The accused then allegedly hit the victim in the head and face with a hair dryer. The victim had significant bruising and swelling as well as a laceration across the forehead and scratches to her neck.
The victim told police "she fell in the shower and hit her head on the step"  while the offender claimed to have not been home at the victim sustained the injuries and refused to give evidence. The offender pleaded not guilty to both charges.
Judgment: Bail granted subject to conditions. The judge noted that in some domestic violence cases, a victim’s refusal to provide evidence may be "a reason for hesitating before granting bail" due to the concern "that the psychology of the victim of domestic abuse is such that they do not want to implicate their intimate partner out of fear or out of love or loyalty. The release of the alleged perpetrator may heighten those emotions" .
The judge found that the applicant had a relatively minor criminal history and enjoyed significant family and community support. He accepted evidence demonstrating that the applicant and his father suffer from various illnesses, and that the applicant’s business was experiencing a significant downturn due to his incarceration and the COVID-19 pandemic. Justice Hamill acknowledged that the pandemic and its associated risks were "matters properly to be taken into account" when considering a release application under s 18 of the Bail Act . "Without attempting to be exhaustive, the pandemic may be relevant to the following paragraphs within s 18(1):