One year's detention for abuse

A year of domestic abuse has resulted in a Mosgiel man being sentenced to the same period on home detention.

Andrew James McCormack (36), a self-employed builder, initially denied the slew of allegations against him and took the matter to a judge-alone trial in the Dunedin District Court.

After his former partner gave evidence and was cross-examined - breaking down in tears at least once - the next day the defendant pleaded guilty when the police withdrew some of the charges.

It meant two children did not have to answer questions in the witness box.

Defence counsel Anne Stevens QC said her client's remorse was "profound" but Judge Kevin Phillips rejected that.

"I don't accept that for a minute. He's sorry for himself, sorry for his children but he's not sorry for what he did," he said.

The offending began at the end of 2017, the judge said.

Because of McCormack's "extreme volatility", the tension in the house was palpable.

Judge Phillips said the family felt as though they were "walking on egg shells, because of your ability to fly into fits of rage for hours at a time - smash furniture in the house, shout, scream, frighten the children".

The first flashpoint came following an argument.

McCormack dragged his then partner along concrete outside their home, punching her as they went, and continued to haul her down a gravel driveway.

The victim was left with abrasions and a black eye.

In a statement before the court the woman said the incident that haunted her most severely took place in February or March last year.

McCormack became so uncontrollably enraged, he ripped a light fixture out of the ceiling, stripped the bed, threw their mattress out of the room and off a deck skirting the house.

The children woke to find their mother outside, struggling to lug the heavy item back inside.

She climbed on to the deck and McCormack pushed her off, causing her to land on her back.

With the victim lying on the ground, the defendant kicked her so hard in the thigh she lost control of her bladder.

The bruise was visible for weeks, the court heard.

By November, a protection order had been put in place to shield the victim but it did nothing to change McCormack's attitude.

He took the car keys from his partner to stop her leaving the property and when she packed her belongings to get away he snatched them and scattered them outside the house.

The children, too, felt the defendant's wrath.

One was hit while trying to protect her mother, while the older child suffered a cut to her face when McCormack smashed a dinner plate during one of his outbursts.

There was a suggestion the victim had a role to play in the violence but the judge dismissed that view.

"I don't agree there was any degree of provocation," he said.

"Your volatility, you anger, your loss of control; it was nothing to do with the victim."

McCormack was yesterday sentenced to the maximum period of home detention and ordered to pay the victim $5800.

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