This case is exactly why DV awareness month exists
IN A month where local authorities and community groups are speaking out about the prevalence of domestic violence in the Whitsunday region, a case highlighting exactly why the campaign exists was sentenced in Proserpine Court on Monday.
Although the definition of domestic violence has extended to include things like emotional, financial and psychological abuse from controlling behaviour, a sadly classic example of physical domestic violence was seen when a 33-year-old Cannonvale man pleaded guilty to contravening a domestic violence order and assault occasioning bodily harm after he bashed his partner against a wall, threw her to the ground, repeatedly punched her and threatened her with a knife.
All because of a drunken argument.
The man standing at the bar table, although unable to be identified for legal reasons, represented the various factions of society domestic violence spans - he was a father, an employee thought of highly with a "good work history" in his industry and observers might find it hard to believe from the outset he was capable of the vicious attack described in court.
Because, as Whitsunday Police domestic violence liaison officer Senior- Sargent Simon Walter pointed out last week, domestic violence doesn't just happen to one group of people - there are no "typical DV" offenders.
While reading out the facts, police prosecutor Sgt Sabine Scotts described the fateful day in March: the victim visited her partner at a local pub where he had been drinking all day and found him arguing with his boss about work.
The court heard how the victim told police she asked the defendant's boss to change the subject as he might bring home his bad mood with him.
In the carpark on the way home the pair had an argument over the victim wanting to buy cigarettes and she walked off.
"At 6.15pm she arrived home, used facilities in the home and came out to find him at home standing in the doorway to their bedroom," Sgt Scott said.
The victim described to police in her statement how the tradesman dropped his shoulder and hit her in the chest, grabbed her shoulders and slammed her into the wall twice and how she felt the wall buckle when her head hit it.
The statement read in court said; "I fell to the floor and he hit me on the legs and started punching me many times - he said 'I'm going to kill you'."
"I thought I was going to die," she told police.
"He let me go and went to the kitchen while I lay on the floor crying. Two minutes later he returned to bedroom with a knife and sat on top of me.
"He said 'I promise you ... I will finish you'."
Sgt Scotts read out the list of injuries in detail, describing bruises on almost every limb, cuts and scratches and she tendered photographs taken of the aggrieved when she went to the police station two days after the event, after she was unable to get in to see a doctor.
A good behaviour domestic violence protection order was taken out with the man named as the respondent in July last year.
Macrossan and Amiet solicitor Steven Hayles said this drunken behaviour was out of character for his client as he would not normally spend all day drinking, the relationship had now ended and he had no prior convictions.
"He has already paid for the cost of repairing broken household items out of his own pocket," Mr Hayles said.
The court heard the man had booked a counselling session with Whitsunday counselling services.
"It is a logical conclusion that alcohol was a significant factor in the offending.
"My ultimate submission is for a period of probation because the offending appears to be an isolated incident."
Magistrate Ron Muirhead said the only thing keeping the defendant out of jail was he has existed for 33 years without incident.
"Being affected by alcohol is no excuse," Mr Muirhead said.
"Even though it may be described as out of character, the fact of the matter is, it still happened."
The man was sentenced to two years probation, including a 16-week domestic violence course for perpetrators in Mackay, with the conviction to be recorded.
If you or someone you know has been affected by domestic violence, you can call Whitsunday Counselling and Support on 4946 2999, DV Connect Women's line on 1800 811 811 or DV Connect Men's line on 1800 600 636.