A successful businessman with a history of violence against women believed the fact he had been found guilty of attacking a female driver who flipped him the bird was “sexist”.
On Thursday (7 October), the ACT Magistrates Court heard 40-year-old Deon James Gibbons already had two convictions for assaulting women before the case of road rage that again brought him before the courts.
His victim was driving home from work on 13 December 2019 when she said she saw him start to tailgate her.
When Gibbons overtook her as she turned right onto a street, she stuck her middle finger up at him.
He reacted by stopping, getting out into the middle of the road and approaching her car. She was unable to drive away due to a traffic island on the street.
Gibbons reached through her window, grabbed her face and pushed her head back into the car seat, then pulled off her glasses and threw them to the ground.
“Not so tough now, you f–king sl-t,” he told her.
In a statement written by the woman that was read to the court, she said Gibbons had taken away her sense of safety.
“I had the ‘temerity’ to express fear and frustration at his aggressive and dangerous driving, and for that, I had to be put back in my box,” she said.
“The message, when he spoke to me, wasn’t just that I was ‘not so tough now, you f–cking sl-t’. It was, I am a woman and a piece of garbage, and this is all I deserved.”
Magistrate Jane Campbell called it a “disgraceful incident”.
“It was an unjustifiable response to the victim flipping him the bird,” she said.
“I’m unsure as to whether Mr Gibbons would have been so brazen and aggressive had it been a male driving the car.
“This offending continues the pattern Mr Gibbons seems to have, that he resorts to violence when he is angry, particularly towards women.”
She had found Gibbons, the owner of Hairhouse Warehouse in Tuggeranong, guilty of assault, offensive behaviour and damaging property after a hearing earlier this year.
He appealed the guilty verdicts in September, but Justice David Mossop dismissed the appeal and the case returned to Magistrate Campbell for sentencing.
A court document shows Gibbons believed the decision to find him guilty was “sexist” because he thought it was only based on his victim’s statement.
Barrister Jason Moffett of Key Chambers clarified that his client had not called the court or Magistrate Campbell sexist, but the rejection of his evidence aggrieved him.
He said his client had “clear anger issues”, but character references described his honesty and integrity. He also said Gibbons maintained his innocence.
Magistrate Campbell said she placed no weight on the fact he didn’t accept her guilty verdicts, but his comment about it being “sexist” again reflected a “very poor attitude to females”.
Gibbons was sentenced to six months’ jail, fully suspended for a 12-month good behaviour order. He was also fined $1400 and ordered to complete 120 hours of community service.