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Man gets suspended prison sentence for hitting daughter

A man who admitted hitting his 14-year-old daughter avoided jail time after he promised to change his behaviour.

Senior magistrate Juan Wolffe sentenced the 33-year-old man, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, to a year-long suspended prison sentence for both counts of an assault that led to bodily harm and the mistreatment of a child.

He reminded the man on Tuesday that “there is never a good reason to mistreat a child”.

Mr Wolffe added: “You’re supposed to protect her, not be the one who she’s supposed to be protected from.”

He also said: “No matter what the perceived disrespect is, it’s the responsibility of the parent to keep the child out of harm’s way.

“The courts must send a message that those who harm a child will be treated harshly.”

The man, from Warwick, pleaded guilty to the offences on October 1 last year and a social inquiry report and drug assessment were ordered.

The incident took place on October 31, 2019.

The court heard yesterday that the reports suggested that he would benefit from parole and out-patient drug rehabilitation.

Victoria Greening, for the defence, said her client felt “genuine remorse” for his actions and had already taken steps to remedy his anger management and drug problems.

She added: “There’s no doubt he has work to do, but he has many supporters in the community and I think that, if given the opportunity to change, he can do so.”

The man’s current partner, with whom he has a four-year-old son, said the defendant was otherwise a good father - not only to their child but to his daughter.

She admitted that he had a violent streak, but said it rarely showed and that he had done a lot of work to change his behaviour.

She said: “For the last eight years we have been together I don’t think I have ever seen him do something like that before.”

The man apologised for his actions and acknowledged the psychological effects that his actions had on his daughter.

He added: “I should have never lost control – I just want us to get back to where we were before.”

Mr Wolffe suspended each sentence for two years and reminded the man that he could serve both jail sentences if he re-offended within those two years.

He also ordered the man to stay away from drugs and alcohol, submit to random drug tests and to participate in any programmes deemed necessary.

Mr Wolffe also ordered him to report to the Department of Court Services as required, complete any psychiatric programmes deemed necessary by DCS and to stay away from people of “known bad character”.

He said: “All these measures are put in place not only to resolve your past issues but to protect your daughter.”

This story has been corrected to show that the woman who gave evidence on behalf of the defendant is not the mother of the 14-year-old victim but is in fact the current partner and the mother of their four-year-old son. The mother of the victim did not give evidence in the case.

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