Wimpy judge makes excuses for domestic violence

Credit: Stuff

It seems you can get away with a lot these days and there are simply no consequences. No, no, we mustn’t give someone a conviction if it might mean he has trouble staying in New Zealand. Coming hot on the heels of International Women’s Day makes this judgement even more unbelievable.

A man who struck his wife multiple times with an extension cord, leaving her with welts and bruising, has escaped conviction.

About 7pm on April 19 last year, Wilfred Lawrence Dsouza returned to his New Plymouth home after having drinks with a friend.

The summary of facts said his wife was in the bedroom resting and the door to the room was locked.

Dsouza, an Indian national, repeatedly banged on the door in an effort to talk to his wife, the force of which broke the lock.

It takes quite a bit of force to smash a locked door. I very much doubt “repeated banging” would do it. It must have been pretty terrifying to be on the other side.

He then snapped a pair of glasses he was holding, threatened to stab himself and then told his wife he would tell police she had done it. The victim told Dsouza to leave her alone and called him a “zero”.

He then hit her with an open hand before picking up an ironing board which he used to try and strike her.  The woman was able to move away from him to avoid being hit.

Dsouza picked up a piece of white extension cord and hit his wife with it repeatedly.  The blows hit the woman’s legs and hands.

“She attempted to protect herself by wrapping a throw from the bed around her body, while at the same time she begged the defendant to stop hitting her,” the summary of facts said.

As the victim phoned for help, Dsouza continued to threaten her and said he intended to plug the iron in and burn her with it.

This wasn’t a one-off moment of flashpoint with his temper getting the better of him. He carried out a sustained attack using several different weapons and threatening to use others. Burn her with an iron?

The 39-year-old previously pleaded guilty to assault with a blunt instrument and at Friday’s hearing in the New Plymouth District Court, his lawyer Megan Boyd sought a discharge without conviction on his behalf.

In support of his application were letters from his employer and wife, along with information about counselling he had attended.

The discharge without conviction was opposed by the police, who were represented in court by prosecutor Stephanie Simpkin.

She said due to the seriousness of the charge, avoiding a conviction was not appropriate. Simpkin added any impact of a conviction on Dsouza’s ability to stay in the country was an issue for Immigration New Zealand to make any decision about.[…]

[…]  The judge took in account the defendant’s lack of previous convictions and that he was under considerable stress at the time of the offending as he struggled to find suitable work.

Oh well, if he was stressed that makes it all OK then.

Judge Sygrove also referred to a victim impact statement written by Dsouza’s wife, where she asked him to take a lenient approach.

Yeah, I bet she did, and I’m sure there was no pressure at all applied by the cord whipper. Oops, there’s my sarcastic voice again.

Dsouza had also taken steps to change his behaviour and now knew how seriously family violence was taken in New Zealand, compared to India where a police warning was given, the judge said.[…]

[…] He ruled the consequences of a conviction outweighed the gravity of the offending and granted the discharge.

Seriously? If he thinks it’s appropriate to whip his wife with an electrical cord then he should have a criminal conviction on file and let Immigration NZ decide whether or not he is the sort of good-standing citizen we want to grant residency to. If you beat your wife, we don’t want you here. Pretty simple, really. There need to be consequences for this level of violence. The judge is a wimp.

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