Ac­tress jailed for beer bot­tle at­tack

Broome Advertiser - - News - Shan­non Hamp­ton

A re­spected Abo­rig­i­nal ac­tress who had roles in a string of ac­claimed Aus­tralian films, plays and mu­si­cals was jailed last week for at­tack­ing her for­mer part­ner with a bro­ken beer bot­tle.

Kim­ber­ley woman Ro­hanna An­gus rose to promi­nence as a teenager in the early 1990s when Broome play­wright Jimmy Chi chose her for the lead fe­male role in the orig­i­nal stage pro­duc­tion of Bran Nue Dae.

It was one of the most suc­cess­ful mu­si­cals of its time.

An­gus starred in the one-woman play Wind­mill Baby, which re­ceived crit­i­cal praise and toured in­ter­na­tion­ally, and ap­peared in Aus­tralian films Satel­lite Boy and Stone Bros.

Last week, An­gus, 44, was jailed for 15 months for caus­ing griev­ous bod­ily harm to her long-term part­ner Ken­neth Gib­son dur­ing a row in Derby in July 2016.

The Dis­trict Court was told the cou­ple had been drink­ing and were fight­ing about claims of in­fi­delity be­fore An­gus fol­lowed Mr Gib­son home and threw empty glass bot­tles at him.

Af­ter ap­proach­ing her with a milk crate for pro­tec­tion, Mr Gib­son grabbed An­gus by the hair and she re­acted by smash­ing a bot­tle over his head, slash­ing his face, then stab­bing the bro­ken glass into his foot af­ter she was brought to the ground.

Mr Gib­son suf­fered se­ri­ous in­juries to his foot and lower leg and needed surgery.

An­gus claimed at her trial in Derby that she acted in self­de­fence, with her lawyer Vin­cent Peters ask­ing Judge Alan Troy to find the at­tack hap­pened in the con­text of a “dif­fi­cult” and “at times vi­o­lent re­la­tion­ship”.

Mr Peters said there was “some ex­treme provo­ca­tion” and “man­han­dling” be­fore An­gus, who has lived in and has strong ties to Broome, car­ried out the stab­bing.

He said she was im­me­di­ately re­morse­ful and tended to Mr Gib­son’s wounds. “It’s do­mes­tic vi­o­lence . . . and the male came off sec­ond best,” he said.

“It’s rare that that hap­pens, but that’s what it is.

“Had there been sec­onds ei­ther side . . . it may have been Mr Gib­son that was charged and not her.”

Pros­e­cu­tors said An­gus was the ag­gres­sor in the fight.

Judge Troy said he could not find that Mr Gib­son was “ha­bit­u­ally vi­o­lent” to­wards An­gus and re­jected her claims that he punched her in the head be­fore the in­ci­dent.

Judge Troy said her ac­tions were “com­pletely dis­pro­por­tion­ate” and that the blows to Mr Gib­son’s face and legs were “de­liv­ered by anger” with a “fright­ful weapon”.

In his vic­tim im­pact state­ment, Mr Gib­son said he still felt a “sense of ter­ror” over the in­ci­dent.

Af­ter read­ing dozens of char­ac­ter ref­er­ences, all of which spoke highly of An­gus as a re­spected com­mu­nity leader and de­scribed her crime as out of char­ac­ter, Judge Troy said he re­gret­ted he had to send her to jail.

An­gus will be el­i­gi­ble for pa­role af­ter 71⁄2 months.

Pic­ture: Yirra Yaakin Abo­rig­i­nal Cor­po­ra­tion

Ro­hanna An­gus with Craig “Chook” Pick­ett in Wind­mill Baby.

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