Father strangles partner with four-month-old in car
A COLLECTIVE intake of breath was heard throughout the court as the police prosecutor Sergeant Barry Stevens read out the facts involving how a young father attacked his partner while she drove him home from the pub with their four-month-old child in the back seat.
WARNING: This story contains details of domestic violence. Reader discretion is advised.
The court heard the 19-year-old Kingaroy father was charged on November 3, 2019 with dangerously interfering with the operation of a car on Haly St with the offence coming under the grounds of domestic violence.
The young father, who appeared solemn and remorseful, pleaded guilty to the charge.
Sgt Stevens told the court the defendant had no previous criminal history.
"On the 3rd of November, around 12.30am on Haly St Kingaroy, the defendant was the passenger of a vehicle. His partner was the driver and there was a four-month-old son in the rear," he said.
Sgt Stevens told the court the defendant's partner had gone to the hotel to collect the defendant and that he was in the front passenger seat of the car when the couple got into an argument.
What Sgt Stevens then described raised a number of eyebrows in the courtroom.
"On the drive home from the hotel an argument ensued and the defendant has continuously punched the driver in the head, pulled her hair and applied force to her throat," he told the court.
The driver was unable to operate the vehicle in a safe manner so she proceeded to stop the car and got out to call triple-0.
When police arrived at the scene on Haly St they witnessed the defendant pushing his partner.
The victim proceeded to tell police she was unable to see the road while she was being assaulted by the defendant.
"She said she was scared to drive and that she couldn't see and was scared for her safety," Sgt Stevens said.
"The defendant later declined to be interviewed."
Sgt Stevens said, when taking into account the defendant's timely pleas (this was his third appearance) as well as the fact that he was young, had no criminal record and pleaded guilty, it was his submission the young father receive a probation period of 12 months and loss of licence for six months.
The defendant's lawyer Mr Chris Campbell from Woods Murdoch Solicitors testified his client was heavily intoxicated at the time of the assault and was attending a local counselling course to address his anger.
"My client informs me he's been in a de facto relationship with his partner now for two years and they have a young son who is now seven months of age," Mr Campbell said.
"Your honour, he informs me that he doesn't usually drink spirits, but he had just finished the last of four days (of) 12 hour shifts.
"He made the decision to knock off work and go to the pub with some of his work colleagues and he instructs me he drank heavy spirits and that he had way too much to drink and then, for some unknown reason, behaved in this fashion.
"He is very, very much aware of the consequences that may have occurred as a result of his actions including possible death …
"He is remorseful, he is ashamed of his behaviour …
"He's still with his partner and is currently four sessions into that 13-week course I mentioned earlier so I would be submitting for a steep fine payable to SPER."
Magistrate Louisa Pink said she would take into account the young father's early plea and his clean criminal record but warned the defendant the conduct he was being sentenced for was serious.
She also brought up the fact no documentary evidence of his attendance at the anger management course had been supplied.
"You had way too much strong alcohol to drink, but what the law states is that while this gives me an explanation for what happened it is not a defence and it does not reduce the penalty to be imposed upon you," she said.
"I hope you've actually stopped to think about it, not only for another innocent person on the road, but for your innocent partner and extremely innocent baby that you put at risk with that sort of behaviour.
"You were fortunate nothing happened."
Ms Pink placed the defendant on probation for six months with one of the conditions stating he must complete the domestic violence counselling program.
No conviction was recorded.
QUEENSLAND DOMESTIC VIOLENCE SERVICES