DPP v Bowden [2017] VCC 133

Sentence summary: Aggravated burglary

The offender gained entry to the victim's house by climbing over a fence and smashing the window of the front bedroom, where she was sleeping. The offender was armed with a hammer and kitchen knife. The victim had awoken at the sound of the window smashing and observed the offender climbing through the window.

The offender stood at the foot of the victim's bed holding the hammer and knife above his head. He appeared angry, and the victim was terrified and pleaded with the offender to leave. After a few minutes the offender did leave the house without further incident.

The offender pleaded guilty to a charge of aggravated burglary.

The judge took into account the offender’s plea of guilty, noting it had spared the victim the trauma of giving evidence. However the victim impact statement detailed the victim’s on-going anger, anxiety and feelings of panic. She also continued to feel unsafe in her own home. The judge said the offending was most serious.

The judge took into account the offender’s profound hearing problems, which had affected him from birth and which had led to poor social and coping skills and isolation. The judge accepted that the offender had misinterpreted previous encounters with the victim as romantic, and that he was in a highly emotional and vulnerable state after he perceived he had been ‘rejected’ by the victim. The judge said the offender’s moral culpability was, to a degree, reduced as a result.

However the judge said that only a sentence of imprisonment would show the court's denunciation of the offender’s conduct. He said the sentence must ensure that the community was protected from further offending of this nature.

The offender was sentenced to 18 months’ imprisonment, with no minimum term, to be followed by a two-year Community Corrections Order. As part of the CCO the offender must perform 200 hours of unpaid community work and receive appropriate mental health treatment.

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Page last updated: 26 August 2018