Domestic violence a ‘sad testimony’

A LOCAL magistrate this week condemned as "sad testimony indeed to the state of our society" that acts of domestic violence "continue unabated," despite efforts to curb their incidence.

Sentencing a Greenthorpe man, Magistrate Peter Dare S.C. said domestic violence is a crime against both the victim and their community.

"When viewed through the eyes of the participants, the nature of the offence could perhaps be seen as merely a private matter," he said.

"The court, however, cannot  ─ and will not ─ take that view."

Daniel Tai Poolman, 38, pleaded guilty to charges of intimidation, assault, assault occasioning actual bodily harm and property damage, with a further two charges withdrawn after the accused agreed to admit guilt.

The four charges relate to an incident that took place on June 2 last year, the facts of which Magistrate Dare summarised for the court.

Mr Dare said the night before the attack, Mr Poolman had slept at the home of the victim who relies on a wheelchair due to health problems.

Woken around 10am by the sound of the victim attending to a child, the accused swore and said it was not fair, it was Sunday.

The victim asked Mr Poolman to "leave the house as he was continually screaming," at which point the accused placed a child in another room, put his open palm to the victim's throat and pushed her off the chair on which she had been sitting.

Mr Poolman pushed the victim to the ground, pulled her hair, grabbed her throat, placed his palm near her nose and threatened to break it.

He kneed her in the face, picked her up and threw her onto a bed, where he broke her ribs.

At this point, the magistrate stopped for a moment to gather himself.

"Excuse me for a minute," he said.

Mr Poolman left his victim's home, later returning to retrieve his mobile phone battery, bang on the door, damage a window, slap his victim on entry and threaten to burn her house down before leaving.

Upon examination at Orange Base Hospital, the victim was found to be suffering from a broken nose, several broken ribs and a swollen and blackened eye.

Representing the accused, solicitor David Barron said his client had no criminal record, regretted his actions and was being treated for related anxiety, stress and anger management issues.

"[Mr Poolman] snapped," he said. "He lost his temper and acted terribly. He deeply regrets that.

"He recognises something went terribly wrong and he's taking steps to make sure it never happens again."

While noting Mr Barron "said all that could possibly be said on behalf of the offender," Magistrate Dare dismissed the regrets claimed of the accused.

"There is really nothing in the [pre-sentence] report as to anything remotely resembling remorse," he said, citing a paper prepared to assist the court in sentencing.

"Expressions of remorse heard for the first time today from the Bar table are too little, too late.

"I am not prepared to accord him an acknowledgement that he is remorseful for his actions in any acceptable sense."

For assault occasioning actual bodily harm, Magistrate Dare sentenced Mr Poolman to 10 months' imprisonment, reduced by two months for his guilty plea and with a non-parole period of three months.

Magistrate Dare also gave the accused a further three months' imprisonment for common assault, ordered him onto good behavior bonds for the two other charges and issued an apprehended domestic violence order against the accused, protecting his victim and her children.

"Someone unfamiliar with the more commonplace anti-social dynamics of this community and responding, no doubt, to a case not put before me, might be persuaded to release the offender on appeal or reduce the sentence," he said.

"For my part, however, I will continue to apply the principles of binding authority which the higher courts have made plain are required in sentencing for offences of this type as well as according with legitimate community expectations.

"Until this message is spread and applied consistently at all levels of the justice system, more women will continue to be assaulted and perpetrators will continue to thumb their nose at the law by evading their just desserts," Magistrate Dare said.

* People dealing with domestic violence can contact Young Police  on 6382 8199, the domestic violence hotline on 1800 654 463 and the Young Crisis Accommodation Centre on 6382 2033 or 6382 4436.

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