Wife beaten, threatened over 32 years

A judge sentencing a man to $10,000 emotional harm reparation said it did not in any way reflect his acts of domestic violence spanning 32 years.

The 59-year-old Dunedin man's violent actions included beatings, hair-pulling ''causing handfuls to come loose'' and numerous threats of violence, Judge Kevin Phillips said.

The victim, his former wife, regularly suffered serious bruising.

And she feared for her life when she had a firearm pointed at her.

''Although $10,000 emotional harm reparation is a considerable sum to you, it does not in any way reflect what you did,'' Judge Phillips said.

''It is a token.''

The man controlled her finances and also her movements, being with her any time she went out of the house. She suffered ''majorly'', the judge said. The man, granted name suppression so as not to identify the victim, had been convicted of three charges, each laid representatively.

He had admitted assaulting his former wife with intent to injure her, and assaulting her, between 1976 and 2008; and unlawfully presenting a firearm (a .22 calibre rifle) at her, between 1993 and 1995.

Appearing in the Dunedin District Court this week, he was sentenced to five months' home detention, with special conditions during and for six months past the detention period; and 200 hours' community work.

In addition, he was ordered to pay $10,000 offered as emotional harm reparation, and witnesses' expenses of $2000, he having pleaded guilty ''only at the very last minute before trial'', the judge noted.

The charges represented ''many, many years of ongoing domestic violence'' by the man, the court was told.

His acts of violence were ''too numerous'' to cover in separate charges and ''had a huge impact on a number of people'', Judge Phillips said.

''One has difficulty imagining what the victim went through over all the years.''

In a victim impact statement, the woman described the man's actions as all due to him wanting to be absolutely in control of her.

''She says she felt she was walking on eggshells throughout the years,'' the judge said.

''And it was not just her,'' he told the man.

Their daughter also spoke of walking on eggshells during her formative years ''seeing her mother as a broken woman and you exerting control over her'', the judge said. T

he woman was slowly recovering. And, with assistance and counselling, the relationship between the mother and daughter was being rebuilt, the judge said.

Counsel John Westgate said the man had with him a $10,000 cheque for emotional harm reparation and had written a letter of apology.

But for ''these serious charges'' there was nothing to suggest the man had behaved ''in this way ... either before or after their relationship''.

They were now divorced. For the past five and a-half years there had been no contact between them.

Issues in the man's make-up were no doubt behind his behaviour.

When the relationship was over ''he did the right things''. He went to Stopping Violence and to counselling, Mr Westgate said.

Judge Phillips said even though the offending was historic there was a need to see the man held accountable.

However, he acknowledged the man's acceptance of responsibility through his guilty plea, his medical difficulties including an obsessive/compulsive disorder, and that he had no previous convictions of any kind.

The five months' home detention is on the assault with intent to injure charge. Concurrent three-month terms were given on the two other charges.

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