13 December 2021

Businessman who endured harsh upbringing sentenced for brutally attacking his two children

| Albert McKnight
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ACT Law Courts

A father in his 40s has been sentenced for assaulting his two children. Photo: Michelle Kroll.

A father who endured a harsh upbringing himself has been sentenced for brutally beating his own children.

In the ACT Magistrates Court on Tuesday (7 December), Magistrate James Stewart had strong words to say when warning the man, a businessman aged in his 40s, about the tragic impact the violence would have left behind.

“The challenge for parents is to improve on their own childhood, and you’ve failed,” he told him.

The violent episode began when the man’s teenage son pushed his father off his bed, angering the older man and meaning the boy was “essentially cornered in his bedroom”.

Prosecutor Elizabeth Wren said the man slapped the boy several times on the head and shoulders, a response she said was disproportionate to what was actually happening.

She said when the boy’s older sister daughter tried to intervene, the father went “far beyond” what he had done to his son. He slapped her and punched her in the face.

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Defence lawyer Andrew Byrnes of Andrew Byrnes Law Group said before the incident his client had a wisdom tooth extraction for which he was taking painkillers.

The day of the incident, he decided to drink whisky to help numb the pain, and it may be that the combination of painkillers and whisky led to the unfortunate set of circumstances, he said.

However, Ms Wren said it was “well-known by almost everyone” that mixing painkillers and alcohol was a bad idea.

Mr Byrnes said the man had also grown up in a strict household where his father advocated harsh punishment, and it could be that the “learned behaviour” from his upbringing was transferred onto his own son and daughter.

Magistrate Stewart told the man the assault on his son was unacceptable.

“You had a choice when he pushed you off the bed. You could have made a joke out of it, you could have laughed. Instead, you responded with extreme violence,” he said.

He said the man then slapped, kicked and hit his daughter “for no reason whatsoever”.

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The father was convicted on two charges of assault and was fined $3000. Magistrate Stewart told him to look after his kids, who were seated behind him in the courtroom.

“I can see that they’re hurting,” he said.

The RiotACT has not named the man to avoid identifying his children.

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