According to the ACT Supreme Court Edited Extract of Proceedings, Joseph Patrick Ennis, who assaulted and broke the arm of his de facto wife Lisa Shelton on 24 October 2010, has received his sentence. A two years good behaviour order and 100 hours community service.
This isn’t the first time he has assaulted Ms Shelton, the other incident occurring on 7 November 2006. While details of the incident were not discussed, the judge stated that the circumstances of the first assault were more serious than the second. He received an eighteen month good behaviour bond for that incident.
Both assaults happened when Mr Ennis and his de facto, who were both heavy drinkers, were intoxicated and arguing.
I see why the judge gave the ruling that he did; the couple have reconciled, have claimed to stop drinking and have a 19 year old named Jess. However the judge also assumed that Mr Ennis was remorseful, though Ennis never actually said that himself.
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As he did not say so in so many words, I assume, given that the offender has pleaded guilty to having assaulted Ms Shelton, that the offender is remorseful for having assaulted her. They have been reconciled and, as I have said, they continue to live together. Indeed, both of them have ceased to drink alcohol.
It was also mentioned that Joseph Ennis did not plead guilty straight away.
What bothers me is this:
I must, of course, not overlook deterrence. In view of the fact that this is the second time that the offender has assaulted his partner, I see both personal deterrence and general deterrence to be important. Yhe offender must be reminded, if he has forgotten, that one does not assault one’s partner. He must be reminded, if he has forgotten, that he faces a prison sentence. Others who may think of doing what the offender has done, and regretfully domestic violence is all too common today, must be deterred by sentences imposed on offenders like this offender from doing what the offender has done.
I don’t think that the sentence does encourage deterrence; whether for Mr Ennis or others. Domestic violence is taken much too lightly. Offenders get slap on the wrist here and there, and then people wonder why it is so rampant?
What do you folks think?