The Chronicle

Jailed for attack on girlfriend

- PETER HARDWICK

AN OAKEY man jailed for a violent attack on his then girlfriend faces deportatio­n when released on parole in February.

Robert Tangiia Robert was born in the Cook Islands but was sent to New Zealand at age seven for education and to get him away from his alcoholic and abusive father, Toowoomba District Court heard.

A New Zealand citizen, the 52-year-old had been flagged by Australian Border Force as a “person of interest” and could possibly be deported upon his release from custody, his barrister Frank Martin said.

Robert had been held in custody since his arrest on February 9 for the violent assault of his then girlfriend at his Oakey home.

The pair had been drinking throughout the day, and the woman had been asked to leave a friend’s home because of a comment she made.

Later that night the pair had argued at his home, and Robert had pushed the woman back onto a mattress on the floor each time she went to get up.

He had then grabbed her around the neck with his left hand and slapped her face four or five times with his right, Crown prosecutor Nicole Friedewald told the court.

The woman couldn’t breath or talk for about 20 seconds when being strangled and when she broke free and ran out the back door, Robert had dragged her back inside and strangled her again for 10 to 15 seconds, she said.

She eventually fell asleep, but when she woke next morning and tried to escape Robert grabbed her and bundled her into his car up the street.

She jumped from the car, and Robert chased her on foot, but she had escaped and went to the Oakey Police Station.

Coincident­ally, her mother was driving past and picked her up and took her home.

She went to police later that day before being taken to the hospital where she spent the night while treated for bruising, swelling and a cut lip.

When police spoke with Robert the next day, he made full admissions, telling officers his actions were “horrible and disgusting”.

He pleaded guilty to two counts of strangling and one each of assault occasionin­g bodily harm, deprivatio­n of liberty and common assault and to possessing drug utensils found by police at his home.

Ms Friedewald said Robert had previous conviction­s of violence against female partners dating back to his time in Victoria for which he had been jailed though his last domestic violence incident was in 2012.

Mr Martin said his client conceded he had a problem with alcohol and drugs.

He had come to Queensland about three years ago to work in the Oakey Abattoir and intended returning to Oakey when released from jail if he wasn’t deported, he said.

Chief Judge Brian Devereaux SC declared 203 days of pre-sentence custody as time served and sentenced Robert to 30 months in jail but ordered he be released on parole on February 8 next year.

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