Man narrowly avoids jail, handed 18-month suspended sentence

A man from Young has been told if he offends again he’ll be going straight to jail.

Benjamin Freeman, 36, narrowly escaped full-time custody at Young Local Court on Wednesday when he was convicted for serious charges of assault and intimidation relating to domestic violence.

He was told by Magistrate Michael O’Brien to “wake-up" to himself as the court suspended an 18-month jail sentence under the condition he enters an intensive corrections order.

“You’d have to be living under a rock to not hear of the scourge of domestic violence. These are offences that occur in the sanctuary of someone’s home, where people should feel safe and secure,” Magistrate O’Brien said.

“Often the people they rely on for support and protection are the perpetrators of violence.”

The court heard, on behalf of Freeman, that he’d stopped drinking since October 30 last year – the date of the offence.

His solicitor, Mr Rump, said his client is seeking help for his alcohol abuse and wants assistance from Community Corrections.

“He’s remorseful for his conduct and ashamed of his actions,” Mr Rump said.

A police fact sheet tendered at court says Freeman grabbed, pulled and pushed the victim, and held a knife near the victim’s throat.

Police were notified of the incident and were quick to arrest Freeman who was charged.

Magistrate O’Brien noted the level of violence.

“You should hang your head in shame. The short answer is, wake-up to yourself,” he said.

“If there’s a repeat of this behaviour, any submission other than full-time custody will fall on deaf ears.”

“He’s had a lot of wake-up calls. The high range PCA should have been an alarm bell,” noting his history.

Freeman was convicted on both charges and ordered to enter an intensive corrections order for 18 months.

He must abstain from drugs and alcohol and an apprehended violence order for two years was put in place to protect the victim.

“It will take sacrifice and effort. Hopefully it pays off,” the magistrate said.