Man to spend half of sentence in prison for threats to kill

A man who pleaded guilty to seven counts of threats to kill was ordered to serve a year in prison while 18 months of his sentence was suspended by the court.

Justice David Chetwynd said that the defendant is left with a sentence of 35 months to serve for violence and threats to kill.

He said that Batley Pita has already served five months and given the gravity of the circumstances surrounding his behaviour over the past two years, it would give the wrong message if the sentence was wholly suspended.

“I am prepared to suspend part of the sentence,” he said.

“The defendant will serve one year immediately and the balance of 18 months will be suspended for a period of three years.

“I hope that during his incarceration he will receive anger management counseling and that in the supervision following his release he will get help with alcohol and drug abuse.”

The incidents of violence involved the defendant’s de facto partner and her family.

The Judge said that there had been incidents of violence over a period of two years against the defendant’s partner and on March 31, 2017 a family protection order was obtained in the Magistrates’ Court.

Shortly afterwards Pita telephoned his partner’s father and said he would kill him.

In March 2017 Pita broke into the father’s house and damaged louvers and other properties in the house.

There was also an assault on the partner in March which left her badly bruised and she went living with her parents but in July 2017, Pita went assaulting her again causing more damage.

The Court found that Pita’s behaviour was very aggressive and amounted to Domestic violence and was a breach of the Family Protection Order obtained in March.

In relation to the threats to kill offence, they were made over the phone.

However the father had witnessed the defendant’s aggressive behaviour and was concerned about the threats.

“Given the nature to the threat the defendant should be punished for the offence and the appropriate term is 12 months imprisonment,” he said.

“There were two incidents of malicious damage and it is not known how much it cost to repair the damage concerned.

“Looking at the nature of the damage the defendant is sentenced to five months imprisonment on each counts the sentences to be served concurrently to each other and concurrent to the sentence for the threat to kill.”

Justice Chetwynd said that he is taking the breach of the family protection order as being very serious but unfortunately the Parliament has only provided a maximum sentence of two years for a breach of a family protection order.

He said that he took the view that if a family protection order is going to be of any value then a breach of the order should have severe consequences and if a breach of an order does not attract severe penalties one could question its value.

The Judge said that Pita has admitted an offence of domestic violence committed after the family protection order was made and the maximum penalty for an offence of domestic violence is five years imprisonment.

“I will therefore sentence the defendant to two years imprisonment for the breach of the family protection order and three years for the domestic violence,” he said.

“The latter affected not only the partner but her family as well and to mark the severity of breach of the order, the sentences will be served consecutively but concurrently to other sentences.

“Finally the defendant assaulted the partner leaving her with bruises to her face, body and arms. The maximum sentence for an offence contrary to section 107(b) of the Penal Code (intentional assault casing temporary harm) is five years.”

The assault left the partner with injuries close to being permanent and in the circumstances this is an offence at the higher end of the scale.

The Judge said that Pita will be sentenced to 2 ½ years’ imprisonment, to be served concurrently with other sentences.

Pita was then sentenced to five years imprisonment.

The Judge said that Pita has no previous convictions and indicated some remorse but is inclined to blame his partner for his offending.

Pita clearly has anger management issues and there is a suggestion he is very aggressive when he is drunk, the court found.

“However as he has no previous convictions and expresses remorse he is entitled to a reduction of 7 months from his sentence,” he said.

“That would leave a total of four years and five months to serve.

“The defendant did enter pleas of guilty at the earliest opportunity and he is entitled to have his sentence reduced by 1/3 (18 months)”.

The Judge then suspended 18 months and leaves a year to be served behind bars.

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