16 November 2022

Public servant charged after allegedly rupturing a woman's spleen

| Albert McKnight
ACT Courts

A public servant has been charged with assault over allegedly abusing a woman. Photo: Michelle Kroll.

CONTENT WARNING: This article discusses alleged domestic abuse.

A public servant accused of causing such severe injuries to a woman she was hospitalised twice was seen putting his head in his hands and sobbing when told he would be refused bail.

He was charged with two counts of assault and one of recklessly inflicting actual bodily harm over alleged abuse to the woman when he appeared over audio-visual link in the ACT Magistrates Court on Tuesday (15 November).

The woman had arrived at The Canberra Hospital with very serious injuries in July 2022, including what was suspected to be a ruptured spleen.

In late October, she had abdominal injuries that were so serious she was in visible pain and needed the help of a colleague to get to hospital, Magistrate Glenn Theakston said. She stayed there for three days.

Then earlier this month, a colleague noticed the woman had a black eye she didn’t have the day before. The man was arrested on Monday (14 November).

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Magistrate Theakston said the woman hadn’t told police much about what had happened to her, but she did say she was afraid of the man.

Also, she allegedly told a colleague she was scared the man would kill her by setting her house on fire.

The man’s duty lawyer asked for him to be released on bail, saying he worked full-time and did not have a criminal history.

The lawyer argued there was nothing to suggest a pattern of behaviour.

However, when opposing bail, the prosecutor argued it was clear the alleged conduct had “been going on for some time” and was in danger of escalation.

He said given the already alarming nature of the allegations, any escalation could have “dire consequences” for anyone involved.

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Magistrate Theakston ultimately refused bail, saying there was “simply too much at stake” to hope the man would comply with bail conditions.

He said some space was needed to be provided to the woman so that she could make a full complaint.

The man was remanded in custody, and the matter was adjourned to December.

If this story has raised any concerns for you, 1800RESPECT, the national 24-hour sexual assault, family and domestic violence counselling line, can be contacted on 1800 737 732. Help and support are also available through The Canberra Rape Crisis Centre 02 6247 2525, The Domestic Violence Crisis Service ACT 02 6280 0900, and Lifeline: 13 11 14. In an emergency call 000.

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