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‘Persistent offender’ spared prison on assault charge

A 36-year-old Warwick man with a history of violent offences against women narrowly escaped a prison term after he admitted preventing a witness from attending court.

Tio Weeks was placed on remand on November 27 for preventing his girlfriend, Beverly Pitt, from testifying against him in a domestic dispute case that resulted in injury.

Crown counsel Susan Mulligan told the court the defendant punched Ms Pitt in the face, causing her to fall to the ground on September 19.

The victim’s daughter called the police when she saw blood coming from a laceration under her mother’s eye. The defendant was arrested and detained for committing an assault with bodily harm.

Ms Mulligan said the couple have a rocky

The victim initially wanted to press charges but the defendant threatened to kill her if she gave evidence against him, she said.

Ms Mulligan noted that during heated exchanges Ms Pitt threatened to kill the defendant as well.

Defence lawyer Rick Woolridge described the couple’s relationship as “less than healthy”.

Despite that, he said the victim visited his client at Westgate Correctional Facility.

“They should both seek counselling,” said Mr Woolridge.

“The short, sharp, shock of being in prison ought to be enough of a lesson for the two of them to fix the way they communicate with each other and fix it themselves.”

He asked that the two months his client spent in custody be held as the sentence as time served.

Senior Magistrate Archibald Warner said he was more concerned about “perverting the course of justice and interfering with a witness in a criminal matter”.

“I recognise that one side hinges on the relationship, but there must be a line drawn somewhere; she also visits him in prison which means there is no fear.”

The defendant apologised to the court and Ms Pitt. “I said things I shouldn’t have said as a man and I’m asking for another chance to seek counselling,” he said.

“Prison has opened up my eyes. I never thought I would even see the inside of this new courtroom.”

Mr Warner reminded the defendant that he has a “bad history of persistent violence towards women with weapons”.

“In 2003 you were in a relationship with a young lady who took out a domestic order against you.

“You breached it and assaulted the individual causing bodily harm. Then, when you were released from prison, you unlawfully wounded the same individual again with a knife. Hence I say you’re not only violent, but you’re a persistent offender.

“Prior to that you wounded another woman and then in 2009 you went around with a machete and the police were going to shoot you.

“The point is you have a background, a pattern of behaviour. So when you come and tell me you’re a changed man it means little to me because of these propensities and now I see the same pattern.”

He continued: “What you’re saying to me sounds like nonsense because it’s a pattern of behaviour that has not been corrected.

“If this pattern continues and I let you go, do you know who they will blame? I’m too old to lose my pension and my job now.

“I know it’s not fair to be cynical, but you have to understand I hear all this sweet talk over and over again.”

Mr Warner placed Weeks on probation for two years with the condition that he undergo rehabilitative programmes ordered by the Department of Court Services during that period.

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Published January 30, 2013 at 8:00 am (Updated January 29, 2013 at 10:35 pm)

‘Persistent offender’ spared prison on assault charge

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