Former AFL player Andrew Lovett has been sentenced to jail for domestic violence charges after pleading guilty to 24 offences.
The offending ranged from February 2020 to December last year.
The complainant in the case prepared a statement that was tendered to the court in the sentencing proceedings.
Lovett was sentenced to eight months' imprisonment, taking into account the time he had already spent in custody.
Jail for Domestic Violence Charges
The police facts alleged that the former AFL player punched, kicked, spit and poured beer on his ex-partner over the course of almost two years.
He met the victim, who cannot be named for legal reasons, through Tinder in October 2019.
She told the court that Lovett's aggressive behaviour started within months of the relationship commencing.
She claimed that at times she would have to sleep in her car, public parks, or at the homes of family and friends.
She prepared a victim impact statement which was tendered in court.
She wrote, "It didn't take long for the fairytale to turn into a horror story, this wasn't a movie though, this was real life, I was living a nightmare. He was my Prince Charming, who I ended up needing rescuing from. He broke me in every single way when he took off his mask and revealed his true self."
The woman aid that Lovett would belittle her, make her feel worthless and left her with debilitating emotional trauma.
"Whilst they are only words, they hurt more than the physical bruises and marks that go away. These are etched into my memory. The rage in his eyes will haunt me forever. I am so grateful I am alive - this cycle of family violence had to end."
Lovett's domestic violence lawyers argued that the construction worker, who recently obtained a crane operator licence, was dealing with substance abuse at the time of the offending.
However, the court was told that he was now abstinent and wanted to turn his life around.
"He is completely repentant.He's attempted to try and understand why he acts this way and how to stop this behaviour. His motivation is to resume employment and become a law-abiding citizen."
They went on to argue that, "He wants to go on with his life, the advancement of his skills, and create a family environment where he can live harmoniously with anyone he comes into contact with."
It was also noted that this was the first time in custody for the 39-year-old.
However, magistrate Jason Ong referred to the seriousness of the offending, stating, "No woman should fear or suffer physical harm because of a partner.This was terrifying, ongoing, aggressive, physical violence. It was controlling and manipulative. You could and should have walked away. It was serious and sustained family violence. It was escalating over time [and] cannot be tolerated."
Lovett had already served 100 days in pre-sentence jail for domestic violence charges.
He will be placed on a 12-month community corrections order following his release from prison.
Andrew Lovett played 88 games for Essendon from 2005 to 2009 and won the 2005 Anzac Day medal.
Domestic Violence Penalties
The penalty for a domestic violence offence can range from a fine to a term of imprisonment. Much will depend on the seriousness of the charge and a person's subjective case.
Whether or not a person receives a conviction for a domestic violence offence will depend on how the case is presented before a Judge or Magistrate.
- Common Assault: While the maximum penalty for common assault domestic violence is a term of imprisonment of 2 years, the most common penalty imposed is a fine. This must be paid within 28 days unless an application for a payment plan is made.
- Assault Occasioning Bodily Harm: the maximum penalty for Assault Occasioning Bodily Harm (dv) is 5 years imprisonment, although there is a jurisdictional limit in the Local Court of 2 years gaol.
- Reckless Wounding: Reckless Wounding carries a maximum penalty of 10 years imprisonment. If the offence was committed while in company of another person, the maximum penalty increases to 14 years gaol.
- Stalk and Intimidate: The maximum penalty for stalk and intimidate is 5 years prison. However, in the Local Court, the maximum penalty is 2 years imprisonment or a fine of $5,500. The prosecution must also prove that the offender had the intention to cause mental or physical harm.
- Malicious Damage (also known as destroy or damage property): The maximum penalty for malicious damage will depends on the value of the property and which court the case it is heard in. In the Local Court, if the property was worth more than $5,000, the maximum sentence is up to 24 months imprisonment, and/or a fine of up to $11,000. However, if the property that was destroyed or damaged was valued at less than $5,000, the maximum penalty is 12 months imprisonment, and/or a fine of up to $5,500. If the property is valued at less than $2,000, the maximum penalty becomes a $2,200 fine.
In today's context, domestic violence charges are very common. There have been a number of recent examples of AVOs being withdrawn and/or dismissed after retaining experienced criminal lawyers.
That is why you will need leading Sydney domestic violence lawyers who have a proven track record of having these charges dismissed. Call Astor Legal on (02) 7804 2823 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can read some recent domestic violence cases here.
Sentencing for domestic violence offences has become much more severe in recent years. Community standards have led to Courts being far more willing to impose serious penalties. Often, Magistrates and Judges will use an offender as an example to send a message to the wider community that domestic violence will not be tolerated. This is known as 'General Deterrence'.
Importantly, this has led to it becoming far more difficult to obtain a Section 10 for domestic violence offences or charges.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.