The Border Watch : March 25th 2014
6 NEWS VISIT US ONLINE borderwatch.com.au Man barred from future contact Accused proposes to new partner after pleading guilty to assault of former wife “I feel like killing him.” ON the same day a 67-year-old man pleaded guilty to repeatedly assaulting his former wife, he proposed to a new partner. The proposal was announced, through the man’s defence counsel, in front of his victim in a pre-sentence hearing in Mount Gambier District Court last week. The man’s battered wife, 75, sought justice through the courts after a 30-year marriage that involved multiple incidents of domestic violence. Her husband, who will not be identifi ed in order to maintain her anonymity, initially pleaded “not guilty” to three counts of aggravated assault causing harm and a separate charge of aggravated assault. The accused asked to be rearraigned on the second day of a jury trial, this time pleading “guilty” to all four charges. The plea change came after a doctor gave evidence in court, telling the jury he had absolutely no doubt the victim was “beaten” by someone before seeking his medical assistance. The doctor described the victim’s injuries, including swelling to her face and forehead. “She couldn’t open her right eye,” he said. “She was bleeding from the nose.” When cross-examined by the defence, the doctor rejected a suggestion the victim could have tripped and fallen on her face. “No - I don’t have any doubt,” he said. The court heard the couple was in a relationship for 41 years and that the accused became verbally and physically abusive to his wife from the moment they were married. The victim told police her husband often punched and kicked her, but that it was rarely done in front of other people. The victim gave evidence in a closed court, but her victim impact statement was read aloud. “I didn’t think he really loved me, but I looked after him,” she wrote. The court heard accusations that the man threw a knife and a wine beaker at his wife and used nail clippers to pinch the skin on her stomach, but these incidents were not related to the charges. The charges related to four separate incidents, three of which caused the victim harm. On the fi rst occasion, the accused hit his wife with a heavy torch, fracturing her arm. He elbowed her to the ribs in a separate incident. The third charge referred to the accused chasing after his wife and pushing her, causing her to fall facedown. She did not attend hospital until one week later. In a fi nal incident, which prompted the victim to leave her husband, the couple was searching for missing car keys when the accused again used a torch to hit his wife in the face before punching her four or fi ve times to the shoulder. The victim stumbled backward and hit her head, causing a bump. Five days later the victim woke up with blurred vision and sought medical help. A doctor suggested she may have suffered a mini stroke. Police prosecutor Gary Phillips told the court the victim’s objective was not to see her former husband jailed. He asked the judge to view the man’s offending as representative of his long-term treatment of the victim. “Matters of domestic violence such as this should be seen by the community as being properly dealt with by the courts,” Mr Phillips said. Defence counsel Stephen Apps said his client had been diagnosed with terminal cancer and expected to die within 18 months. The accused plans to marry his new partner and hopes to continue travelling as much as he can before he dies, Mr Apps said. “He sees that as a part of his life that’s gone before,” the lawyer said of his client’s former marriage. “Obviously he faces a grim future. “He’s doing the best he can.” Judge Rauf Soulio told the accused it was his responsibility as a husband to “protect and care” for his wife. “Violence against women is not to be tolerated,” the judge said. Judge Soulio said the victim was of “robust constitution” and had a “strong spirit”, adding that her husband’s behaviour meant she was living in fear. “Domestic violence is often committed ... behind closed doors,” he said. “Victims suffer in silence.” Judge Soulio stressed the seriousness of the charges but referred to the age, health and previous good character of the accused when he suspended an 18 month jail term for one year. The victim successfully sought an intervention order, preventing her former husband from making any further contact. Entertainment ensured as authors promise night of controversial debate ANELIA BLACKIE A DEBATE about whether books should feature fornication, food and fantasy to become bestsellers could spark controversy. But if the hilarious ABC Radio presenter Peter Goers, Coonawarra vigneron Doug Balnaves and academic Dr Sarah Mott lead the debate, a night of great entertainment can be guaranteed. The three debaters will tackle the subject at the launch of Mount Gambier’s fi rst giant book fair in April. The Rotary Club of Mount Gambier has tackled the ambitious task of putting together the inaugural Rotary Book Fair with hopes it would grow bigger and better each year. “We have had a look at what they are doing in Clunes in Victoria every year,” Rotarian Alan Richardson said. “They have book stalls and authors for their fair scattered in various buildings around town. “That’s what we want to do with our book fair as well.” Thousands of booklovers attend the fair in the Victorian town and a similar event in Port Fairy each year, stimulating tourism, food and retail industries. The Mount Gambier Rotary Book Fair will be launched with a controversial debate by the three well-known personalities on Friday, April 4, in the lead-up to the fair on the weekend. The fun launch will be held from 7pm in the Mount Gambier City Hall. Tickets are $10 per person and available from Chapmans Newsagency on Commercial Street West. On Saturday, April 5, and Sunday, April 6, the same venue will be packed with over a dozen enthusiastic book sellers offering a huge variety of new and secondhand books. Throughout both days, there will be informative presentations in the upstairs Leadlight Room by various authors. The best-selling author of Out of the Blue, Joanna Fincham, will talk about how to write a compelling autobiography on the Saturday. She will be joined by Angela Goode, Dee Nolan, Kerry Letheby and Wendy Altschwager, who will each talk about writing and their lives as authors throughout the day. On the Sunday, Judy Murdoch will talk about researching and recording community history, while The Blue Ribbon Cookbook author Liz Harfull will hold a book launch and talk about writing family history through recipes. Judy Murdoch will then join Graham Greenwood to explore how to write a biography. Tickets for the talks will be available at the door at a small cost. Meanwhile, the Mount Gambier Library will be on board to conduct a children’s “storytime” session on the Saturday morning with songs, picture books and craft activities, followed by a graphic art workshop for teenagers and adults on the Sunday afternoon. Interspersed throughout the venues will be entertainment by buskers, free book and poetry readings and competitions with great prizes, including an e-reader valued at $200. All proceeds from the event will go to the Mount Gambier Rotary Club. EVENT INFORMATION WHAT: Rotary Book Fair WHEN: April 4 to 6 WHERE: Mount Gambier City Hall and other venues Rebates available - conditions apply They really work! Despite our cooler climate a solar hot water system can give you up to 90% of your hot water FREE from the sun! And while you’re reducing your power bill, you’re helping the environment. S.E. BATTERY SERVICE 120 PENOLA RD, MT GAMBIER. PHONE 8725 9911HONE 8 6 - The Border Watch, Tuesday, March 25, 2014 STOCKISTS FOR ALL YOUR BATTERY NEEDS! 643078 BOOK FAIR: Rotarian Alan Richardson goes through some of the thousands of books that will be on sale at the Rotary Book Fair in Mount Gambier in April. Pictures: ANELIA BLACKIE MEET THE AUTHORS: Joanna Fincham will be among the string of popular authors who will talk at the upcoming Rotary Book Fair at the Mount Gambier City Hall.
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