4 March 2022

Woman thrown down stairs because she couldn't eat a cooked meal without her dentures

| Albert McKnight
Mark James Smith

Mark James Smith, 40, was released from custody after being sentenced on Wednesday. Photo: Albert McKnight.

A woman’s inability to eat a meal because she had left her dentures at home so enraged a man she’d only recently met that he pushed her out of his home, threw her down stairs and assaulted her.

When sentencing Mark James Smith on Wednesday (2 March), Acting Justice Peter Berman told the ACT Supreme Court the 40-year-old had not known his future victim for long before she agreed to meet him at his Kambah home last year.

Smith made a meal, but she was unable to eat it because she didn’t have her dentures and this made him angry, Acting Justice Berman said.

Smith pushed the woman out of his house and down four or five steps, leaving her with bruises and abrasions.

She “found herself in the dark, injured and frightened”, Acting Justice Berman said, and she tried to get help before Smith let her back inside.

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However he was still enraged, saying he would take her into the bedroom where it would be “dark forever”. He also hit her in the head and mouth.

The woman was scared and didn’t think she’d be able to leave the house.

The next day, Smith forced her out again and she ran down the street, banging on doors to try and find help until two men assisted her and an ambulance was called.

Acting Justice Berman said he could infer what happened was “unpleasant, frightening and painful” to the woman.

“Offences of violence like these are relatively commonplace,” he said.

“It seems some people resort to violence when losing their temper more than they should.”

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Smith, a landscaper and former plasterer, pleaded guilty to two counts of assault.

His Legal Aid lawyer, Sam McLaughlin, said Smith had worked as a sweeper in the Alexander Maconochie Centre before being given the “higher trust” position of working in the kitchen.

Having spent more than nine months in jail while on remand, he had already served “ample time” behind bars, Mr McLaughlin said.

Smith was sentenced to nine months’ jail, backdated to account for time served, so was released that day.

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