28/10/2021

Six years imprisonment for man whose violent actions caused partner to die

A man has been handed a six-year imprisonment sentence after he pleaded guilty to one count of assaulting her partner, which resulted in her death.

The disagreement that eventually led to this tragic incident was over the issue of alcohol consumption.

The sentence is to be backdated to commence on October 2, 2020 to preserve Wesley Willie’s (defendant) parole rights.

The Supreme Court heard that the neighbours were told Willie was assaulting his partner in the early hours on October 1, 2020 and they went to stop the assault.

As the neighbours intervened, Willie threatened them and told them not to go any closer as he continued to assault his partner.

He kicked her on her head and stomach repeatedly with a shoe he was wearing at the time.

A post-mortem report conducted later the same day found that late Anita (victim) had died as a result of severe traumatic brain injury.

This was further clarified medically to have been caused by multiple blunt force injuries to the head causing a subdural haemorrhage/haematoma and subarachnoid haemorrhage.

Mr Willie admitted to assaulting Anita, explaining that he was angry with her for having consumed alcohol that evening.

He stated that he had gone to find her and found her sleeping at her father’s house.

The defendant said he woke her up and asked where she obtained the alcohol from.

She did not respond, so Willie punched her face and kicked her while she was on the ground, before picking her up and leading her away to towards their home.

The defendant then assaulted her again in the same manner numerous times.

Justice Wiltens said the sentence starting point was to be assessed by having regard to the maximum sentence available for this offending, and factoring in the aggravating and mitigating aspects of the offending.

He said the maximum sentence for intentional assault causing death is 14 years imprisonment and there are no mitigating aspects to the offending.

There are however numerous aggravating factors, including the place where the offending happened near her parents’ home where she should be safe every time and Willie himself was under the influence of alcohol.

The Judge said the attacks were unprovoked and aimed at a defenceless victim affected by having been asleep and having consumed alcohol and repeatedly assaulted from fierce kicks on her body.

Willie was found to be targeting the vulnerable part of the body, which is the head.

The court stated that Mr Willie pleaded guilty to the lesser alternative charge at the earliest available opportunity, which the court considered that he really had no alternative as the prosecution case against the defendant was strong.

There were a number of eye-witnesses that observed this incident, and Mr Willie made a full confession to the police.

His early plea, however, saved Court time and expense and was seen as an indication of remorse.

For this aspect of the case the court accordingly reduced the sentence start point by 25%. Willie is 43 years of age, with 4 children to care for, 3 of whom are still at school.

He has limited education (up to year 10) and is a farmer.

The defendant was the breadwinner for the family.

He is held in high regard in the community and is not known as a violent person.

His family remains supportive of him.

They had expressed his extreme remorse, and has advised the pre-sentence report writer there will be no repetition of his offending.

But he will of course have to live with the consequences of his senseless actions, which have taken away his partner and the mother of his four children.

He has no previous convictions.

Justice Wiltens then ordered Willie to serve six years in the Correctional Centre to be served as the final sentence.