Charges: 3 x causing injury intentionally; 1 x false imprisonment; 1 x rape; 1 x make a threat to kill; 2 x contravention of Final Family Violence Intervention Order (FVIO)
Case type: Appeal against sentence.
Facts: The offending involved intentionally causing physical injury, threatening to kill, false imprisonment, rape and breaching FVIOs. The respondent and complainant were in an intermittent de facto relationship for a few years prior to the offending. The respondent was sentenced to 7 years and 6 months’ imprisonment with a non-parole period of 5 years.
Issue: The appellant appealed against the sentence on the grounds that it was manifestly inadequate, and that the learned sentencing judge failed to:
Held: Manifest inadequacy is difficult to establish (). Nevertheless, the respondent was re-sentenced to 10 years and 6 months’ imprisonment with a non-parole period of 8 years. Notwithstanding the factors relied upon in mitigation (), several of the individual sentences imposed and the orders for cumulation were found to be inadequate, and therefore produced a total effective sentence that was below the range of sentences available to the sentencing judge so as to reveal an error of principle (). Personal factors included: history of drug and alcohol abuse; criminal history which included a number of dishonesty and drug matters, assault and robbery, intentionally and recklessly causing injury, and failure to comply with court orders; a disadvantaged and dysfunctional upbringing; and low cognitive functioning. However, in the Court’s view, there was a need for both specific and general deterrence, given the respondent’s long history of violence, especially towards the complainant (-). The offending in question was ‘brutish, cowardly…and calculated to humiliate and degrade a powerless, diminutive woman’ (). The Court also noted that ‘people considering similar brutal, degrading abuse of a domestic partner must understand that the courts have a duty to protect vulnerable members of [the] community and will not hesitate to impose stern punishment upon wrongdoers’ ().