A young Central Australian father who viciously attacked his partner while she was holding their four-month-old baby – breaking her jaw and stabbing her with a pair of scissors – has escaped jail.
The NT Supreme Court heard the 21-year-old man, who the NT Independent cannot name for legal reasons, had drank a half-a-litre of rum and was highly intoxicated when he bashed his 19-year-old partner at a town camp near Alice Springs on September 10 last year.
The man became angry and started “smashing up” the house the pair resided in, and when the victim tried to talk to him, he punched her in the face until she “started to black out” all while holding the couple’s four-month-old son.
The victim’s mother stepped in and took the baby out of harm’s way as the man continued the sustained attack.
He kicked her in the legs, punched her in the face, before stabbing her in the leg with the scissors and pulling her by the hair.
The victim was transferred to Alice Springs Hospital following the attack, where she was operated on to fix her broken jaw and received treatment on her other wounds.
Chief Justice Michael Grant said despite the fact the offender had breached bail since the assault by travelling to Alice Springs and being arrested while intoxicated, he had good chances of rehabilitation.
“You have indicated your intention to plead guilty from an early stage, and you made admissions to the police officers who attended on that night … I accept that you are genuinely remorseful for your conduct,” he said.
“I do not consider that the fixing of a non-parole period would be the appropriate course in your circumstances.
“You are a first offender, you remain relatively youthful, and although your successful rehabilitation cannot be assured given the picture of dysfunction which your legal representatives have been at pains to paint, the purpose of rehabilitation is important in the circumstances of this case.”
The court heard the offender had grown up around community violence but came from a supportive family and had worked in a youth centre and community store in the region.
“Your barrister tells me that you want to stop drinking, that you want to change your life, that you want to stay out of trouble and re-establish your relationship with your son,” Chief Justice Grant said.
“Ultimately, your ambition is to work as a teacher’s assistant on community.”
Chief Justice Grant sentenced the offender to two years and four months in jail, fully suspended.