A Cobar father who assaulted and choked his former partner for not answering his calls has been given a 18-month jail term.
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The 32-year-old, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, also told his young daughter who witnessed the violence, not to be like her mother.
"The law and community at large have made it clear that domestic violence is not a private matter, they are public matters because they are crimes," magistrate Aaron Tang told the offender.
He described the offender's intimidation towards his daughter as "particularly abhorrent".
"She's only five. There's no excuse for that type of behaviour," Mr Tang said.
The man appeared in Dubbo Local Court via audio visual link on Thursday, March 30 from Bathurst Correctional Centre.
He pleaded guilty to breaching an apprehended domestic violence order (ADVO), assault occasioning actual bodily harm, intimidation intending to cause fear of harm, and intentionally choking a person without consent.
On May 27 last year, the offender came home from a night shift between 10.30am and 11.30am and called the victim "a number of times". The victim answered the first few calls. He called the victim four more times and then sent a message stating "no worries so be it".
The court heard the offender then drove to the victim's house. Between 11.40am and 12.25pm, the victim heard banging on the lounge room window. Upon entering the house, in the presence of their daughter, the offender verbally abused the victim, prevented her from leaving the house and took her phone.
When the victim walked into the kitchen the offender followed her, grabbed her shoulders and neck, pushing her towards the floor. He also pushed her into a wall which left a hole in the gyprock.
The court heard the offender slapped the victim's face "multiple times" which caused bruising and redness around her eye. When the victim tried to walk away, the offender held her shoulders and pushed her to the ground.
He then put his hands around the victim's throat. For five to ten seconds, the victim could not breathe properly. The court was told while the offender was choking the victim, he spoke directly to his daughter.
"This is what happens to mums when they don't answer their phones and be whores, this is what happens," the offender told the child. "Don't be like your mum, this is what happens to your mum."
A neighbour heard distressing sounds and contacted the police who arrived about 1.30pm. The offender was arrested and taken to Cobar Police Station.
Court documents reveal couple were together for six years prior to offending. There was also an ADVO in place since July 2021 to protect the victim.
In court, defence solicitor Jai Silkman said his client had accepted responsibility for his actions and could identify their impact on the victim. He said the man was dealing with substance abuse issues and had offended while he was intoxicated.
"The report writer talks about [the offender's] history of child trauma. He was molested by a babysitter which he's only recently opened up about," Mr Silkman said referring to his client's sentencing assessment report.
He said being on remand had not allowed the man to access any support services.
"He's been in custody since May 28, just over 10 months, during that time, he's asked to commence programs, in relation to family and domestic violence and drugs and alcohol," Mr Silkman said.
"He clearly needs support and supervision... he's very eager to engage in drugs and alcohol rehabilitation.
"He tells me the last 10 months in custody [have] changed his perspective on life."
Mr Pedlow from the Director of Public Prosecutions said the man's offending was aggravated due to taking place in the home and in the presence of a child. He said all the offences carried a maximum penalty of two years in prison
"There was an [ADVO] in place between them... this is not his first time in custody, his record does not assist him," Mr Pedlow said.
Noting his substance misuse problems, the prosecutor said the court "should do something" for specific and general deterrence, as well as the safety of the victim and community. He also said the threshold for imprisonment had been crossed.
Mr Tang said he understood the offender's disadvantaged background and the issues that led to his offending, not only on that occasions but on previous occasions as well. He also said the offender had expressed some degree of remorse.
"This court is very familiar with the impact of child sexual abuse on people. No child should be subject to abuse, its impacts can be far reaching. It's not uncommon that it leads to mental health and alcohol and drug issues, but by no means... that does not provide an excuse, but provides explanation," Mr Tang said.
The magistrate said he had heard stories of people who had experienced similar pasts who opened up about it and dealt with it by seeking support. He said survivors really had the power of "claiming their lives back" and not be identified by what had happened.
"That taking away of power as a child, you can take it back as an adult. I invite you to consider the impact that had on you as a child and the impact your behaviour has had on your own child, particularly when she's there and observing it," Mr Tang said.
"She will be impacted mentally... many children [become] depressed, anxious and angry. It affects their education outcomes. The impacts last beyond their childhood.
"Have a good hard look at yourself is that what you want your child to suffer through and the sort of life you want to have for her."
Mr Tang also highlighted that legislation on choking had made it clear that it needed to be taken seriously.
"Research indicates that the [choking offence] has a link with domestic violence homicides. It is a red flag," he said. "There is a degree of responsibility you need to take as an adult."
Mr Tang said the offender's alcohol and drug issues did not mitigate the offences. He said full-time jail was the only appropriate sentence given the seriousness of his offences and criminal record.
"The court also considers sentencing principles that send a message to general public [to] prevent them from committing such offences. To hold you accountable as well. You breached an AVO in place for [the victim and child's] protection. The breach involved use of violence. The sentence should be imprisonment and that's what it's going to be today," he said.
"Due to your status on remand you have not been able to access [support], hopefully after your sentence you'll be able to access some programs."
The offender was convicted and sentenced to 18 months in jail with a non-parole period of 10 months. Since he had been on remand since May 28, 2022, the court considered it as time served. The man was then released from custody and will be on parole until November 27 this year.
Support is available for those who may be distressed.
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