DPP v Da Luz [2017] VCC 172

Sentence summary: Intentionally causing injury

The offender was in a relationship with the victim and had a young child with her. While under the influence of methylamphetamine, the offender assaulted the victim over four days, his violent actions included punching her in the face, head and ribs, kicking her, burning her with a cigarette and a cigarette lighter, and striking her with weapons including a wooden speaker box, a hammer, a coffee cup and a knife. During several of these assaults, the victim’s two daughters from a previous relationship, aged six and eight, pleaded with the offender to stop and tried to intervene. The offender twice told the victim he was going to kill her. On the fifth day she fled with the children.

The offender pleaded guilty to four charges of intentionally causing injury, as well as charges of criminal damage and making threats to kill.

The judge found the offending serious for a number of reasons. The victim - a vulnerable female in a relationship with the offender - was assaulted in her own home. Some of the assaults occurred in the presence of her children, who were terrified, and when she was holding the baby. It involved the use of instruments - a hammer, a speaker box and a kitchen knife. She suffered significant injuries that required three days’ hospital treatment and was barely recognisable to the Salvation Army caseworker when she sought help.

Mitigating factors in sentencing included the offender’s early guilty plea, his genuine remorse and guarded prospects for rehabilitation, and the 12 months spent on remand.

However, his four-day reign of terror was to be utterly condemned. The sentence must signal that violence against domestic partners, and in particular, vulnerable women, is totally unacceptable.

The offender was sentenced to three years and five months’ imprisonment with a non-parole period of two years.

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Page last updated: 30 August 2018