DPP v Seeman [2019] VCC 2231

Sentence summary: Aggravated burglary

A father of seven was jailed after he stormed his former partner's home and assaulted her with a piece of wood.

Benjamin Seeman was sentenced to seven years jail with a non-parole period of four years and ten months after he was found guilty of one charge of aggravated burglary and common assault and two charges of intentionally causing injury.

He was found not guilty of one charge of criminal damage.

The Court heard the offender had attended a memorial service with the victim, his partner of 10 years, before getting into an argument that saw the victim head home.

The jury accepted that at about 4am the offender attended the victim's home to collect his youngest child.

After forcing his way into the home with a piece of wood found in the front yard, the offender struck the victim several times and dragged her around the home.

The sentencing judge noted the victim's impact statement that described what "a terrible impact the events have had and continue to have on them".

"Even without the victim taking the opportunity to tell me in her words how your actions have affected her, the events as I have described them above have already informed me of what a terrifying experience this was for her and for the two children," the judge said.

When considering the length of the sentence, the presiding judge said the intent to injury was clear after the offender broke through a security door to enter.

"I find that the objective gravity of all the offending is very serious and that your moral culpability is high. It was a cowardly sustained attack on your powerless and diminutive partner of 10 years," the judge said.

Mitigating circumstances included the offender having no prior convictions, his physical ill health and the looming possibility of being deported.

Despite the offender receiving several character references, the presiding judge found it difficult to give them any weight.

"True it is that you are very close with the adult children of your first marriage, and your grandchildren, and family is very important to you," the judge said.

"What seems to have been forgotten by some writing those references is that … your family too are equally entitled to your love, respect and protection, especially in their own home."

The judge also noted that there were significant delays in the matter finally proceeding due to clerical issues as well as a previous jury being unable to return a verdict.

Note: Benjamin Seeman is a pseudonym.

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Page last updated: 8 December 2020