Monday, February 2, 2009

Judge Tells Offender To Be A Good Boy and He Won't Be Convicted



A man who repeatedly punched his wife for several minutes has escaped conviction after the judge ordered him to write an essay on domestic violence. Wow! Making excuses is what we see in each of these cases. For a Judge to have an abuser write a letter instead of jail time and counseling indicates pure ignorance on the part of the legal system to protect victims in relationships with violent offenders. A slap on the wrist from the legal system, is a knock out punch for victims. Judge Bruce Davidson should be removed from presiding over future domestic violence cases. Traffic court sounds less dangerous for this rope a dope of a judge. Or maybe not, apparently his track record is still haunting him.

But the 42-year-old who has been let off three domestic violence charges previously did not apologise in his essay to his wife or their 12-year-old son, who reported the bashing to police.
Instead, he blamed his upbringing.


"I have learnt now that I was a by-product of my father with my angry outbursts and getting frustrated to the point where I would physically and verbally hurt my wife," the Wellington dad of three wrote in his three-page piece `Why domestic violence is wrong'.
"I never thought I would become like my father because I remember telling myself as a young teenager that I would not be violent and abusive like my dad."



The man was discharged without conviction by Judge Bruce Davidson late last year after meeting earlier conditions to stay out of trouble for nine months, pay a fine, and write the essay.
Judge Davidson also granted him permanent name suppression,
Sunday News obtained the essay from Wellington District Court last week despite objections from his lawyer.


The 42-year-old was charged with assaulting his wife in April 2007. He pleaded guilty to the charge.
According to the police summary of facts, the man got into a "heated argument" with his wife. Then while she was lying down, attacked her.
"He punched the victim with a closed fists repeatedly to the body over a period of five to 10 minutes," the summary read.
At Wellington District Court in January last year, Judge Davidson agreed to delay sentencing, but said he would not necessarily grant the discharge because it would be "ground-breaking" if he escaped conviction a fourth time.
In October last year however after receiving the essay Judge Davidson granted the discharge.
He said he was now a changed man and did not react with his fists.


"I have learnt that I am now responsible for my actions and controlling my anger in a non-physical or abusive manner that I have the power to choose and decide not to be violent in any way, shape or form," he wrote.
"I can now walk away if an argument starts to get heated and cool down."
The man cited his upbringing as a reason for his violence and described watching his mother "being victimised by my drunken father".
He said he would lose his job if he was convicted of assaulting his wife, his family was under financial stress and he pleaded with the judge to discharge him without conviction.
"I am hanging by a thin thread and know I have been let off several times now of being convicted. If I was to offend again I deserve to be punished severely. I ask that you do not cut the thread just yet, your honour. And please give me another chance and allow me to continue my course of overcoming and breaking the cycle of violence."
And he pleaded for name suppression because of the humiliation earlier media reports of the incident had caused his family.
"It really upset my wife and children most of all. They were made to feel like victims themselves by the people who know us.'
When Sunday News contacted the man yesterday he reluctantly admitted he was lucky to escape conviction for assaulting his wife.
"Oh yeah, I guess so."
He said he had "definitely changed", and that he had apologised to his wife several times.
The man's wife told Sunday News her husband's court case was an "extremely sensitive issue" and that she regretted the fact police had become involved.
"I can tell you right now I would never, never, never ... If (my husband) ever hit me again I would never, never report it to the police," she said.
"My children will never ring the police because of what has happened.
"My son, I thought he'd done the right thing. I certainly thought I'd done the right thing. It's hard enough emotionally without it being bought into the media.
"I want women to report this stuff but I don't want them to have to go through what I went through. That's why I'll never do it (get police involved) again."
She said her family's home life was now more settled and they were getting on with their lives.
"We had a hell of a year because of this. A terrible, terrible year. I nearly had a breakdown with it all. We nearly lost our house."

The lawyer who unsuccessfully challenged Sunday News' request to view his client's essay, submitted it should not be "viewed and published (even in part) by any newspaper". But he also said the essay was "so honest and so descriptive of domestic violence" it could be "a focal point in any campaign to control domestic violence".

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