Jail for hit that took woman’s eye

Geraldton Guardian - - News -

A 34-year-old man who used a broom to strike his part­ner in the face with enough force her eye needed to be com­pletely re­moved was this week jailed for three years and eight months.

The woman was taken by am­bu­lance to Ger­ald­ton Re­gional Hos­pi­tal on the night of De­cem­ber 14 af­ter a heated ar­gu­ment with Ron­ald Michael Martin turned vi­o­lent in his Utakarra home.

Martin and the woman had been ar­gu­ing about pre­vi­ous re­la­tion­ships when he struck her in the ch­est and then grabbed a broom, which he used to strike her in the face.

The broom hit with enough force it rup­tured the woman’s left eye­ball and caused sev­eral frac­tures to the eye socket.

Af­ter she sought med­i­cal at­ten­tion, doc­tors had to re­move her eye­ball com­pletely.

Martin, who was on a vi­o­lence re­strain­ing or­der and not per­mit­ted to be within 20m of the woman when the in­ci­dent oc­curred, was ar­rested later that night.

He was charged with breach­ing a vi­o­lence re­strain­ing or­der and ag­gra­vated griev­ous bod­ily harm, to which he pleaded guilty in Ger­ald­ton District Court on Mon­day.

Martin, who has not spent more than eight months out of cus­tody since 2007, had pre­vi­ously been con­victed of as­sault­ing the same woman.

He had only been re­leased from jail just over a month be­fore the lat­est in­ci­dent oc­curred.

State pros­e­cu­tor Michael Per­rella said in 2015 Martin had been con­victed of ag­gra­vated un­law­ful as­sault caus­ing bod­ily harm af­ter punch­ing the woman in the face.

“It high­lights the na­ture of the re­la­tion­ship,” he said.

The court was told of Martin’s trou­bled up­bring­ing, which in­cluded home­less­ness, do­mes­tic vi­o­lence and sub­stance abuse.

De­fence coun­sel Kate Turt­leyChap­pel said Martin had pre­vi­ously en­joyed be­ing in­car­cer­ated be­cause of his “king­pin” sta­tus among other in­mates, but had re­cently be­gun pro­grams in prison and had started writ­ing a book.

She said he now hoped to use it as a chance to be re­ha­bil­i­tated, and hoped one day to be­come a youth coun­sel­lor. Judge Vicki Stew­art ac­cepted Martin had had a trau­matic child­hood, but said she had to pro­tect vul­ner­a­ble women from this type of be­hav­iour.

“The com­mu­nity does not con­done do­mes­tic vi­o­lence of any kind and nei­ther does this court,” she said. “This is a se­ri­ous as­sault re­sult­ing in per­ma­nent dis­abil­ity to the vic­tim.”

Martin had his sen­tence back­dated to De­cem­ber 15 and was given a 20 per cent re­duc­tion for an early guilty plea.

He was made el­i­gi­ble for pa­role.

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