Domestic violence victim tells of 'slit throat' threat
A DOMESTIC violence victim's video statement has been used to overrule an entirely different version of events in Grafton Local Court.
The story was heard during the hearing of an Upper Fine Flower man, who pleaded not guilty to domestic violence-related charges of common assault and stalk and intimidate, issued after his 23-year-old ex-partner went to the Grafton police station to make a statement against him.
In a recorded statement she described two clear events including a threat made the previous night that he would hunt her down and bury her in the backyard if she tried to leave, and another incident two weeks before where he "back-handed" her across the face while her mother was in the house.
She told police she was knocked out for about 10 minutes, and that he told her mother he would "slit her throat if she blabbed".
But appearing in court, the mother-of-three said she made up the entire statement, and asked for the video not to be shown in court on the basis that she had been coerced into making a false accusation to police by employees at a local day-care centre, who allegedly threatened to make a worse statement against him and possibly have her children taken away if she didn't go to the police.
Despite this, Magistrate Robyn Denes ruled it was necessary for the footage to be played in court while the victim was on the witness stand.
On October 21, NSW became the first state in Australia to allow domestic violence victims to give evidence in court via a pre-recorded video statement taken by officers at either the time of the offence or reporting. It was put in place to not only take pressure off victims in court, but to reduce the possibility of the perpetrator intimidating the victim by trying to coerce them into withdrawing or changing the original version of events.
After the video was shown, the visibly distressed victim continued to deny the allegations, saying she only made them because she was scared she would lose her children if she didn't.
She also told the magistrate she wanted to reconcile the relationship and marry the defendant, who also denied the accusations when he was cross-examined.
"It's all a lie," the complainant said. "He saved me from a much worse relationship."
But in delivering her verdict, Ms Denes upheld the video as evidence-in-chief rather than the victim's in-court account, which she described as "rambling".
"The only version that carries any weight is the original one," she said.
The man was found guilty on both charges and is expected to be sentenced in Grafton Local Court on February 8.