Sentence cut for man who raped and threatened partner

A man previously jailed for bashing a shearer to death in 2001 has had his 12-year jail term for raping and threatening to kill his de facto wife – after she had taken out an intervention order against him – reduced by two-and-a-half years.

The man, 50, was arrested after he held two knives to the woman’s throat, abdomen and chest, and threatened to kill her and her dog.

Court of Appeal Justices Robert Redlich and Pamela Tate said that at one stage during the attack, the man stood behind his de facto wife of two years with a knife to her throat and told her he would kill her if she called the police.

He told her, ‘‘This will only take five years off my life [in jail], this will take yours forever’’.

He then asked the woman to choose which knife he would use to kill her, before letting her go.

The man was jailed for 12 years with a non-parole period of 10 years after pleading guilty in the County Court to charges of rape, making a threat to kill, and recklessly causing serious injury.

The two appeal judges, in their judgment handed down on Wednesday, said the Crown had accepted the man’s jail sentence had been too excessive given the extent of the woman’s injuries.

But the judges said the gravity of the offending ‘‘was aggravated by the fact that the [man] was at the time the subject of an intervention order, which he flagrantly disregarded’’.

‘‘Offending of this nature is too often perpetrated by men whose response to difficulties in a relationship is one of possessive, violent rage.

‘‘It goes without saying that such a response, to what is a common human situation, is utterly unacceptable.

‘‘The sentences must convey the unmistakable message that male partners have no right to subject their female partners to threats or violence.

‘‘The sentences must be of such an order as to strongly denounce violence within a domestic relationship.’’

The man’s appeal was upheld and he was re-sentenced to nine-and-a-half years’ jail with a non-parole period of six years and six months.

The appeal judges said the man attacked his de facto wife on June 18, 2012, after they had been arguing about his belief that she had been having sex with other men.

He punched her, picked her up by the hair and threw her to the floor, kicked her several times, including to the head, and banged her head on the floor.

‘‘He also grabbed her around the neck as she was lying on the floor so that she could not breathe,’’ the judges said.

The woman suffered bruising, a fractured cheekbone, abrasions and scratches.

The man then raped her before threatening to kill her with two knives he had taken from a kitchen drawer.

The sentencing judge said the man’s threat to kill had been made in particularly cruel and chilling terms.

‘‘You have previously been convicted of manslaughter [committed in 2001] and served five years in prison before being released on parole. There could be no doubting your meaning or the seriousness of your threat,’’ the judge said.

The appeal judges said the Crown’s concession that the sentence was manifestly excessive rested primarily on the nature of the injuries inflicted.

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