18 April 2023

Drunk mother who'd learned of ill husband's affair attacked manager at 88mph

| Albert McKnight
woman hiding behind an umbrella

The 39-year-old woman hid under an umbrella when leaving court after her sentencing on Wednesday. Photo: Albert McKnight.

A married mother had just told her friend about her seriously ill husband’s affair when she attacked a manager at a Canberra bar during a drunken night out.

The circumstances of the assault at 88mph, a venue on Hobart Place in Civic, in May 2022 “don’t flatter” the 39-year-old, Magistrate James Stewart said at her sentencing.

He said she had been having a night on the town and clearly had far too much alcohol when she tried to use the men’s bathroom.

She was asked to leave by a staff member and there was an altercation between them. The manager arrived, stood between the pair and also asked the woman to leave.

She responded by pushing the manager in the throat, then punched her twice in the mouth and throat. The manager was left with bruising and a cut lip.

“It really doesn’t make sense why a law-abiding person would become violent, and violent towards another woman,” Magistrate Stewart said, noting she had no previous criminal history.

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After the woman pleaded guilty to a charge of assault in the ACT Magistrates Court on Wednesday (12 April), her lawyer, Andrew Byrnes from Andrew Byrnes Law Group, said she had been going through “hell” at the time.

He said she’d drunk a large amount of alcohol and had just told her friend about her marital difficulties.

The court heard the woman’s husband was physically and mentally unwell and was reliant on her. She has had to increase the support she provided him and her family due to his illness.

She had also learned he had been having an affair and told her friend on the night of the assault.

Mr Byrnes said her emotional state had deteriorated when the affair was discussed and ultimately asked the court to spare his client a conviction.

“I have tremendous sympathy for this defendant,” Magistrate Stewart said when considering the issue.

“It is easy to understand how distressed she would have been and how the infidelity would have been a slap in her face.”

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However, he said he could not see how he could allow a non-conviction order as the assault had been too serious and a working member of the public had been injured “for no reason”.

A non-conviction order would send “a terrible message to the community”, he said.

“You simply can’t assault people and walk away scot-free, no matter what your personal circumstances are,” Magistrate Stewart told her.

The woman, whom Region has chosen not to name, was convicted and sentenced to a 12-month good behaviour order with 75 hours of community service.

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