Kiwi shearer’s meth-fuelled abuse

Michael TraillAlbany Advertiser
Albany Justice Complex.
Camera IconAlbany Justice Complex. Credit: Laurie Benson Albany Advertiser

A Katanning shearer and New Zealand national has avoided Department of Home Affairs scrutiny after bouts of meth-fuelled domestic violence and an attempt to pervert the course of justice.

The father of four young children he was spared an immediate term of imprisonment in the Albany District Court on Monday, September 9, with Judge Christopher Stevenson handing down a 12-month suspended sentence for perverting the course of justice.

Between December 29 and February 23, while held in remand at Albany Regional Prison for a string of assaults on his partner, the 27-year-old pressured his victim to withdraw her witness statements relating to the domestic violence.

During the recorded phone calls between the two of them from prison, the State prosecutor said the 27-year-old showed a “very effective model of emotional blackmail”, which led to the victim handing two letters to police, changing the facts about the December assaults.

“One would hope, your Honour, that when someone’s remanded in custody for domestic violence instances, the protection to the victim is given — that they don’t have to be around that person or have to see that person,” the State prosecutor told the court.

The court was told during the phone calls, the Katanning man told his partner their kids would be taken away from them because of the domestic violence, that she was keeping him in prison as “punishment” and that she was his “key out”.

In his sentencing remarks, Judge Stevenson said the offending was serious.

“It was sustained and involved a degree of pressure, psychological and emotional, which you brought to bear on the victim in order to avoid having to deal with charges concerning you,” Judge Stevenson said.

The District Court heard the man had used meth because he thought it might make him more productive as a shearer and help with the pain associated with the job.

“As he pointed out, in the shearing industry it’s quite prevalent,” defence counsel Richard Hickson said.

Judge Stevenson said he would suspend the term of imprisonment because the man had already spent about six months behind bars for the domestic violence and pervert the course of justice charges.

Appearing in the Albany Magistrate’s Court last Thursday facing five assault charges, which he had pleaded guilty to, the offender was given a two-month suspended jail sentence. The court was told he and his partner were using meth around Christmas last year when the assaults happened.

After being arrested by police on December 29, the offender tried to escape custody by running across the Katanning Police Station lawn and jumping over the back fence, but he was wrestled to the ground by officers.

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