A woman escaping violence at the hands of her alcoholic partner fled to their neighbours’ home, but he followed and attacked them too as they tried to protect her.
However, despite admitting to assaulting the woman, whom he had sponsored several years ago to come to Australia on a partner visa, the man has escaped spending any more time in jail after he was sentenced in the ACT Magistrates Court on Thursday (1 July).
Court documents show the violence began when the Canberra transport worker was drinking whisky in his caravan earlier this year.
His partner was folding clothes at a bench when he threw a drinking glass at the back of her head. She left the caravan that night and went to their neighbour’s home to seek refuge.
Soon afterwards, she was followed there by her partner, but she would not say much to him and he left. He returned later and threw a can of Victoria Bitter at the woman who lived there.
But he returned again. This time, he punched this woman in the head and neck before grabbing her by the hair and throwing her into a chair.
He went inside and punched his partner, knocking her to the ground.
He left and was locked outside but came back again, smashing his way inside through a door. He punched both women, as well as trying to hit the man who lived in the home.
Police arrived at about 11:00 pm to find the man, wearing shorts and a fluorescent orange worktop, restrained by the three others.
Police said his partner later refused to give a family violence statement because she was, in her words, “fearful for her safety”. She also said the man “gets drunk and does this sort of thing”.
When Magistrate Robert Cook sentenced the man, he said he had spent 24 days in custody over the attacks but would escape further time in jail.
Two days earlier, the man’s partner, who was in court to support him, had released a victim impact statement saying he had not hurt her other than a “small bump” to the head that was gone the next day.
She said she loved him “so much” and wanted to fix their relationship.
“I’m not interested in a relationship with anyone else,” she said.
But the prosecutor described her as a vulnerable person with limited English who was in the country on a visa.
Magistrate Cook said the man was affected by alcohol at the time, but that did not reduce the seriousness of the attacks.
He said the couple he assaulted were only seeking to assist his partner.
He also said the man had apologised for his actions and recognised he had a problem with alcohol, but later said the man had continued to drink while on bail.
Magistrate Cook sentenced him to 12 months’ jail, suspended for a 12-month good behaviour order. He also ordered him the pay about $2000 in reparations.
The man had pleaded guilty to charges of assault and damaging property.