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Albany man avoids immediate prison time over assault of partner he hit again on drive to hospital

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An Albany man appeared in Albany Magistrates Court on November 17 for sentencing after he was convicted on September 9 of two charges of aggravated common assault, and two charges of damaging property.
Camera IconAn Albany man appeared in Albany Magistrates Court on November 17 for sentencing after he was convicted on September 9 of two charges of aggravated common assault, and two charges of damaging property. Credit: Laurie Benson/RegionalHUB

An Albany man with a history of serious offences has been given a nine-month suspended prison term for punching his partner in the face and then continuing to attack her as he drove her to the hospital to seek medical treatment.

Austin Luke Mowaljarlai, 36, appeared in Albany Magistrates Court on November 17 for sentencing after he was convicted on September 9 of two charges of aggravated common assault and two charges of damaging property.

Police prosecutor Sgt Mike Russell told the court about 2am on July 6, the victim attended a home in Orana, where Mowaljarlai was staying.

She knocked on the door and as there was no answer, then walked down to the backyard to a caravan where Mowaljarlai had previously stayed.

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Mowaljarlai came out of the house to see her, the court heard, and after a brief conversation, punched the victim on the left side of her forehead, causing immediate pain. Mowaljarlai then drove the victim in his car to Albany Health Campus.

As they passed the Hyundai dealership on Albany Highway, he hit the victim in the mouth with the back of his hand, making her head jerk back and causing swelling to her lip as well as a small cut inside her mouth.

After arriving at AHC, Mowaljarlai walked away from the vehicle.

The damaging property charges related to an incident later that day, about 4am, when Mowaljarlai went to the home where he and the victim lived and began shouting and kicking the front door, damaging the door frame.

Mowaljarlai’s defence lawyer Michelle Gonsalves said he and the victim had been in a relationship for 21 years.

The lawyer told the court she believed there had been a “domestic” between the two that had caused Mowaljarlai to go to the Orana address as a “respite”.

She said following the incident, he had a “real desire to change directions” and had undertaken counselling.

Sgt Russell told the court he recommended that an immediate prison term be imposed.

“What’s staggering is he’s trying to mitigate his actions by driving her to hospital,” he said.

Magistrate Dianne Scaddan said Mowaljarlai had hit the victim while she was “not in a position to defend herself” in the car.

Ms Scaddan said the incident was what would “colloquially be called a backhander” and described it as “very serious and very dangerous”.

“The fact is that you’ve acted in order to effectively have the last word,” she said.

Ms Scaddan said Mowaljarlai had a history of violence-related offences, which included a prison sentence of three years and 10 months.

He was sentenced in 2015 following an incident in which he crashed his car after driving at speeds of up to 240km/h, causing life-threatening injuries to his partner.

He was sentenced to a nine-month prison term, suspended for 12 months.

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