DPP v Shaw [2016] VCC 2013

Sentence summary: Aggravated burglary

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Over the course of a day and evening, the offender and the victim, his ex-partner, were in contact by telephone, which was in breach of an intervention order. Later the same day the offender hitchhiked a long distance to the victim’s home, which was in regional Victoria. The offender gained entry to the house by throwing a pitchfork through a glass panel, and he then began assaulting her. He hit and kicked her to the head and body, also throwing a vase at her head, pulling out her hair and trying to stab her with a knife. The victim’s fingers were cut by the blade as she resisted the offender. The offender also held his forearm across her throat, choking her. When police arrived at the scene the offender held a knife to the victim’s throat and threatened to kill her. He then dragged the victim out of the house by the hair and threw her on the front lawn. The offender charged at police and was subdued with OC foam.

The offender pleaded guilty to one charge of aggravated burglary, one charge of intentionally causing serious injury, and one charge of criminal damage. He also pleaded guilty to a summary offence of contravening a family violence final intervention order.

The judge said the injuries the offender inflicted upon the victim were at the higher end of seriousness. The victim had had to be hospitalised for two weeks and undergo multiple surgeries, and she suffered on-going trauma.

The judge said the offender treated the victim ‘as an object not as a human being’. He said: ‘Your attack on [the victim] was unprovoked, cowardly and savage. Deterring others from attacking women who are entitled to move on in their lives without the threat of violence, indeed without actual violence, is essential in any civilised community.’

An aggravating factor was that he offending was committed while an intervention order was in place. The judge said there had been ample opportunity for the offender to change his intended course of action, including in the time he spent hitchhiking to the victim’s home.

The offender’s early guilty plea and remorse were taken into account. However, the judge said the offender’s personal background, marked by abuse and mental illness, did not reduce his moral and legal culpability for his actions.

The offender was sentenced to six and a half years’ imprisonment with a non-parole period of four and a half years.

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Page last updated: 18 September 2019