Mother's DV sentence for swearing at knife-wielding son
A TULLY mother who was given a suspended jail term for domestic violence against her son after calling him a "little maggot" has had her sentence reduced on appeal.
The court was told the 39-year-old woman, who had been drinking, had been on a toilet when her 12-year-old boy pointed a knife at her and called her a "slut" in November last year.
Her de facto partner disarmed the boy, kicked his bottom and chased him across the street.
"During which he was said to have almost been struck by a car," Cairns District Court Judge Tracy Fantin said in a recent judgment.
The boy ran to the Tully Hospital where two witnesses saw the woman and her partner yelling at him calling the child a "little maggot" and a "maggot c***".
She admitted to police that she may have yelled at the boy but said she didn't recall using those words.
"When told that witnesses heard her using those words, she was upset and remorseful," Judge Fantin said.
A domestic violence order was made against the woman, naming her three children, and is in place until next month.
A condition of the order was the woman must be of good behaviour towards the child, must not commit associated domestic violence or expose the child to domestic violence.
She was jailed for three months wholly suspended for one year and a conviction was recorded.
"She appeals against the sentence on two grounds: that it is manifestly excessive and that the magistrate denied procedural fairness in not inviting submissions on imprisonment," Judge Fantin said.
"At no point during submissions did the magistrate indicate that she was considering imposing a sentence of imprisonment (actual or suspended). Neither the appellant's solicitor nor the prosecutor provided the magistrate with any authorities."
Judge Fantin said it was important to distinguish the woman's actions from her partner's.
"It was the de facto, not the appellant, who disarmed the child, kicked him in the bottom and chased him across the street," she said.
Judge Fantin found the sentence was too harsh. The jail term was set aside and the woman was placed on a three-month probation order, which includes strict conditions that she undergo substance abuse and domestic violence counselling and/or courses.