Man avoids jail for AVO breaches
COMMON sense has prevailed in Grafton Local Court in the sentencing of a man facing prison for sending Christmas cards to his family.
Gary Byron Core, of Red Rock, faced court on two charges of breaking AVOs involving his former partner and their 12-year-old daughter.
The court heard Core had sent Christmas cards to the partner and his daughter, despite an AVO forbidding contact with the partner.
He faced another charge of contravening the order by sending a letter addressed to his daughter, but containing material meant for her mother.
Core pleaded not guilty to the charges.
His solicitor, Geraldine Gallagher, said the letter had been addressed to the daughter, who was not named in the AVO.
Core said the Christmas cards, which he agreed he had written and addressed, had not been sent by him.
When Ms Gallagher made this argument, magistrate Greg Grogin interjected to ask if she really wanted to continue this argument.
"When a jury retires, a judge tells them not to leave their common sense outside the door,” he said.
"You should make sure your client understands he is before a magistrate with worldly experience.”
The prosecution called Grafton police officer Constable Kelsey Watts to give evidence on the Christmas card AVO.
The court heard what was written in the cards, which included stating how much he loved them, how he would continue to "put money in your bank” and how he would like to apologise for mistakes he made.
Ms Gallagher's cross-examination of the witness was inconclusive and after a short break she came back with a change of plea to guilty to the relevant charge.
Mr Grogin thanked the defence for changing tack in the case. He reassured the defendant he would not be going to jail, despite a poor record of contravening court orders.
Core had spent time in jail and was on parole at the time of these offences.
"Had there been any element of threat in any of the messages it would have been a different matter,” Mr Grogin said.
He said the messages "oozed love for your daughter”, but cautioned the defendant not to be blinded by emotion when dealing with court orders.
He placed Core on a 14-month Community Correction Order to be served at Red Rock, with a condition he abstain from drug taking.
The other charge was withdrawn.
Core addressed the court to assure the magistrate he was determined to turn his life around.
He said he was off methadone and hadn't smoked cannabis for eight months and would do everything he could to ensure he was a fit father for his daughter.