The police have procedures and Police Fact Sheets :Domestic Violence and Assault will give more information on that process.
The following case study reflects the way Police present FACTS to a court, when a person is charged with a Domestic Violence/ Assault matter.
ETB Legal’s Client was charged with:
- Common assault pursuant to section 61 of the Crimes Act NSW 1900 and
- Assault occasioning actual bodily harm pursuant to section 59 of The Crimes Act 1900 (maximum penalty 5-7 years or 2 years imprisonment in the local court) and
- Destroy damage property (fine only offence)
Police Fact Sheets details:
- The accused in the matter is John
- The victim in the matter is Maria
- The accused and victim were previously in a 12 month de-facto relationship.
- John and Maria separated around June 2015, although have continued the relationship on and off since that time.
- The victim (Maria) has one child from a previous relationship.
On Friday 20th November 2015 the victim (Maria) gave the accused a key to her house, for the purpose of looking after the dogs when she was at work.
On Monday 23rd November 2015 the victim contacted the accused asking did he want to come over to “talk about the relationship and everything that had been going on”
About 7.20 pm on that same day, the accused (John) attended the victim’s (Maria) home address at Clareville street.
The accused and victim had dinner before putting the victims daughter to bed.
The victim asked the accused if he wanted to talk. The accused became angry believing the victim just wanted to ‘start trouble’.
The accused got angry and walked down the hallway. The victim told the accused that if he walked out ”that’s it” and the relationship would be over.
The victim told the accused he “could take his dogs and leave”
The accused got into his car and left the location.
Shortly after the accused (John) left, the victim (Maria) sent the accused a text message saying he had forgotten the dogs and told the accused she was going to put the dogs out the front.
The accused (John) called the victim(Maria) on her mobile phone screaming at the victim(Maria) although she could not understand what the accused was saying.
After the call was terminated the victim sent another message to the accused(John) saying he had “10 minutes to decide what he wanted to do”.
Not long after the accused (John) returned to the victim’s (Maria) home address.
The victim opened the front timber door.
The accused put his hand through the screen and opened the screen door.
The accused (John) entered the house and went to the rear of the property, where he let two of the dogs inside. The accused returned to the hallway to collect the dogs leads.
The victim had hold of one of the leads which was tangled. The lead is a combination of metal chain and a black fabric handle.
The accused wrapped the lead around the victims left hand.
The accused pulled tightly on the lead pulling the victims hand behind her head.
The victim dropped her mobile phone which was in her right hand although it did not break.
The victim was screaming and felt immediate pain in her hand with a feeling as if her hand was being ‘crushed’. The victim began crying.
At this time the victim’s 10 year old daughter came out of the bedroom and said ”Daddy, you’re hurting Mummy”.
The accused let go of the lead.
The victim(Maria) bent down and picked up her mobile phone and removed the lead from her left hand.
The accused( John) went outside to the front yard to put the dogs in his vehicle. At this time the victim’ (Maria) dog also managed to get outside.
The victim(Maria) called her dog to get back inside. The victim went outside also in an effort to obtain a photograph of the registration plate of the vehicle the accused was using, as she did not recognise it to belong to him.
The accused (John) then grabbed the victim shoving her against a side fence in the front yard. The victim was holding her mobile phone in her right hand.
The accused grabbed hold of the top part of the victim’s phone and squeezed it tightly in a twisting motion, shattering the screen and damaging the body of the phone.
The victim(Maria) continued to scream loudly.
The accused (John) got into his vehicle and left the location.
A short time later police and Ambulance arrived.
As a result of the incident the victim suffered a bruise to her right arm and grazes and swelling to her left hand.
The victim was conveyed to Nepean Hospital by Ambulance for further treatment and X-rays to check for broken bones in her hand.
At no time did the victim(maria) give permission for the accused (John) to assault her.
The victims damaged phone was an Apple iPhone 4s ,with an approximate value of $300.
- Police made efforts to locate the accused who attended Penrith Police Station about 9:45am Sunday 29th November 2015 of his own volition.
- A short time later Police applied Lepra 2002 safeguards (aka LAW ENFORCEMENT (POWERS AND RESPONSIBILITIES) ACT) and placed the accused under arrest,before escorting him to Penrith charge room where he was entered into custody.
- The accused was made aware of his rights whilst in Police custody ( per Part 9 Lepra 2002) before being offered the opportunity to speak with a solicitor, which was declined.
- The accused was electronically interviewed and recalled the incident in question.
- He denied any wrong doing claiming that he was assaulted by the victim(Maria)
- He claims the Victim armed herself with the dog lead in question and was attempting to assault him with it.
- He claims he was forced to grab the lead in self defence and denied that the victim showed any signs of pain or distress whilst he held onto the lead.
- He denies grabbing the victim in the front yard and pushing her up against the fence, claiming instead that he was forced to fend off multiple physical attacks from her.
- Further, he claims that the damage to the phone was caused when the victim threw her phone at him, which missed and slid along the concrete driveway at the front of the residence.
- The accused denied assaulting the victim in any way and stated that he feels “she set him up and has done this to other men”
- He claims that during the incident the victim was smiling and yelling out ‘You’re assaulting me’ and ‘Let go of my phone’ when these things were not in fact occurring.
- Despite his assertions however,the accused was unable to provide finer details when Police asked further clarifying questions.
- The accused instead became angry and/or emotional or simply could not provide answers to some questions.
- Further, he could not provide a sufficient answer when asked why he did not approach Police sooner after the incident other than claiming that he would not have been helped by Police.
The accused was later charged with the matter now before the Court.
ETB Legal represented the accused in this matter.
The case was dismissed after ETB Legal defended our client and showed that the victim in the matter was not in fear for her safety.
Evidence including text messages were produced to show the victim continued to contact the defendant after she complained about him to Police.
You need to know what impact the Police Fact Sheets can have on your case.
Additional information on Domestic Violence, Assault and Possession is available as a downloadable PDF from the Australian Human Rights Commission.
Remember, there are many “victims” to be considered in any Domestic violence Case.