No conviction for hitting wife

A man who admitted hitting his wife in November 2004 thanked the court recently for letting him attend an anti-domestic violence programme.

Magistrate Margaret Ramsay-Hale reviewed the man’s progress before deciding how to deal with him.

He first came to court in early November 2004. He was referred to the programme because his wife did not wish to have his good character destroyed by a criminal conviction. But she wanted him to have help.

The idea was that, if he completed the programme, the charge could be dismissed or left on file.

The defendant said he had completed 24 out of 26 sessions. Topics now discussed were topics he had already attended, he asserted.

His wife could not come to court with him that day because of work problems, he advised the court. The magistrate said that was all right because she had spoken with the wife during other appearances.

‘I’m a totally new man,’ the defendant said.

‘I love that,’ the magistrate replied. ‘I wish I had you in court to tell other men that every week.’

She reiterated what she has said in so many other cases of assault: ‘You cannot win affection or respect by violence.’

The man agreed. ‘I really appreciate the counselling because it has instilled good values in me,’ he reported. Now, he added, he was trying to share those values with others.

The magistrate, with the agreement of Crown Counsel Leslie Bates, decided to leave the charge on the file. That means it would be brought back only if the man is charged again.

She told him he was free to go, with her best wishes. She hoped he would continue to encourage his peers to adopt his new mindset.

The file jacket showed that, along with his attendance at the counselling sessions, he had been brought back before the court for review nine times after his initial appearances.