Battle for a harsher DV penalty in court sees police disappointed
THE severity to which a man should be punished was up for serious debate in Gladstone Magistrates Court this week.
The verbal tennis match was prompted when two very different conclusions were drawn by Magistrate Melanie Ho and police prosecutions.
The court was told that on December 25 at 9.30pm, an argument between a 32-year-old man and his girlfriend quickly turned into a serious matter resulting in the contravention of a domestic violence order.
Police prosecutor acting Senior Constable Balan Selvadurai said the aggrieved told the defendant she was leaving (mid-fight) and moved toward the pair's two-year-old, who was asleep on the couch.
To prevent her from leaving the home with their child, the man, who cannot be named for legal reasons, pushed the aggrieved backward, causing her to fall to the ground, landing on her coccyx.
Sen-Constable Selvadurai said they would be seeking a $1000-$1500 fine to serve as a deterrent for the man, noting the aggrieved had to go to hospital for the injury.
But Ms Ho disagreed on the range.
She pointed out to Constable Selvadurai the defendant had no history and was only 10 days away from the two-year DVO expiring. That was at the time of the offending.
Constable Selvadurai stressed the need for a specific deterrence again.
"She (the aggrieved) is just lucky she fell on her tail bone," he said.
But Ms Ho said the defendant's history had to be taken into account in sentencing.
She said this was the man's first DVO breach since the order was made two years ago and that the defendant deserved to be given a benefit, given his lack of criminal history.
Constable Selvadurai stressed the prosecution's stance one last time, emphasising the nature of the offence.
"This was a push," he concluded.
It could have been much worse.
The matter came to an end when Ms Ho told Constable Selvadurai that sentencing could not take into account what could have happened but rather the exact, factual events.
The man was fined $400. This was at least $600 less than what the prosecution was seeking.
The court was told the defendant and aggrieved had separated the day of the incident but were amicable.
No conviction was recorded.