More se­ri­ous than just ver­bal abuse

Whitsunday Times - - NEWS | PROSERPINE MAGISTRATES COURT -

CROSS­ING the line be­tween a ver­bal ar­gu­ment and phys­i­cal abuse has cost a Proser­pine man $1000 and a stern warn­ing from Mag­is­trate Si­mon Young.

At 8.30am on Novem­ber 7, the man was asleep at a Proser­pine home where the vic­tim, with whom he was in a re­la­tion­ship, and their two chil­dren, were also present.

Prose­cu­tor Bern­hard Berger said the vic­tim went out, de­spite the man telling her he was feel­ing un­well and ask­ing her to wait un­til he got up.

He then fell asleep be­liev­ing she was watch­ing the chil­dren.

He was wo­ken by his step-dad who told him his kids were on the road.

“He was in a state of shock and fear­ful about po­ten­tial harm to the chil­dren (and) at this time the ag­grieved has ar­rived back at the house,” Mr Berger said.

Be­liev­ing the vic­tim was “not tak­ing matters se­ri­ously” the man grabbed her “force­fully” by the wrists.

Th­ese ac­tions con­tra­vened a do­mes­tic pro­tec­tion or­der made in the Proser­pine Mag­is­trates Court on March 18.

Jennine Ki­ley from the Abo­rig­i­nal and Tor­res Strait Is­lan­der Le­gal Ser­vice (ATSILS), who was rep­re­sent­ing the man in court on Mon­day, said he had been through “a pretty rough time” since 2013.

She said the re­la­tion­ship had been “on-again, off-again” and while the man had pre­vi­ously had cus­tody of the kids, he hadn’t now seen them since th­ese events.

Mag­is­trate Young said even though this was at the lower end of the scale for phys­i­cal vi­o­lence “it’s still phys­i­cal vi­o­lence”.

While he was sat­is­fied the mit­i­gat­ing fac­tors didn’t jus­tify a pe­riod of im­pris­on­ment, Mr Young said the man’s his­tory was rel­e­vant.

“You’ve been is­sued fines and pro­ba­tion in the past (and) that hasn’t had com­plete suc­cess,” he said, adding this was “more se­ri­ous than ver­bal abuse”.

Tak­ing into ac­count the man’s fi­nan­cial sit­u­a­tion, the $1000 fine Mr Young im­posed was re­ferred to the State Penal­ties En­force­ment Reg­istry.

But there was also a warn­ing: “The next charge of this na­ture could well be jail,” Mr Young said.

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