Man guilty of ‘vicious’ attack

Jon SolmundsonGeraldton Guardian
Geraldton Courthouse.
Camera IconGeraldton Courthouse. Credit: The Geraldton Guardian

A 24-year-old man who punched his pregnant partner in the stomach, causing her to fall to the ground, has been sentenced to one year in jail.

On February 11, 2016, Sydney Joseph Harris and his partner got into a verbal argument when Harris questioned the paternity of the victim’s unborn child.

On top of the assault, Harris was in breach of protective bail conditions at the time.

These were the result of another assault on the same victim on June 18, 2015, when the victim tried to leave a confrontation with Harris by calling a taxi to her home.

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Harris had shown up at the property, despite the victim having taken out a violence restraining order against him.

The taxi pulled up outside and the victim quickly climbed inside as the taxi driver locked the doors.

Harris, however did not relent, clambering on to the roof of the taxi and banging on the windows of the vehicle until the driver was forced to press his alarm button which released the door locks.

Harris appeared in the Geraldton Magistrate’s Court recently for sentencing on charges of aggravated assault, aggravated assault causing bodily harm, three counts of breaching protective bail conditions and one of breaching bail undertaking.

Magistrate Donna Webb described Harris’ assault on his pregnant partner as “vicious” and “prolonged”.

“His conduct towards her was disgusting and brutal, there is no excuse,” she said.

Ms Webb said Harris’ psychological report indicated he had a poor history of compliance with court orders and was at high risk of re-offending, having spent only a week at a rehabilitation centre before absconding in an unregistered vehicle which was later involved in a traffic accident.

She said Harris’ parents “did the best they could”, fostering him from infancy because his biological parents were unsuitable, but discovery of his adoption and the death of a sibling had shaken him.

“The parents that raised you up, they’re good people who care about you Sydney,” she said.

“Whatever happened in your past, you’ve got to let it go.”

Ms Webb said Harris needed to get his substance abuse under control, and other treatment would “pale in comparison” unless he did so.

Harris’ 12-month sentence was backdated to December 1 and he was made eligible for parole.

* For support contact: Lifeline 13 11 14. Mensline Australia 1300 78 99 78 (for men concerned about their own violent behaviour). National Sexual Assault, Domestic Family Violence Counselling Service 1800 737 732 (24/7). Relationships Australia 1300 364 277.

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