Home detention for knife threat to woman

Court House-entranceA drunk man who threatened to gouge out a woman’s eyes and cut her throat with the knife he was holding has been allowed home detention at his Christchurch District Court sentencing.

Judge Jane Farish told 54-year-old plumber Noel David Casey: “I don’t think alcohol and you are a good pair.”

He will be doing without it for a year on home detention, and he will have to pay $3000 to the woman he was in a short term relationship with as emotional harm reparations.

Judge Farish noted that Casey accepted the relationship had “overwhelmed him”. She said: “You hoped the relationship would endure but the alcohol got in the way of that.”

Casey had opted for a judge-alone trial where he had been found guilty on a series of charges: two of assaulting a woman, one of threatening to do grievous bodily harm, two of assault with a weapon, and a charge of attempting to pervert the course of justice.

His defence had been that he was so drunk he could not remember the incidence, but also that the woman had been untruthful in her evidence.

Defence counsel Karen Feltham said Casey had been besotted with the woman, and had thought he was doing everything right. But he didn’t recall the incidents because of his drinking – a 40-year-old pattern of behaviour that began with his father in Ireland taking him to the pub at age 12 and “pouring four Guinnesses into him”.

“He is heart-sick at what has happened,” said Miss Feltham.

Crown prosecutor Aja Trinder said his lack of recall was not accepted. His DVD interview with the police showed him changing his explanation as he went along.

Judge Farish said the woman had found herself “suffocated and smothered” by the relationship after a time, and had wanted to have time out from a man the judge described as “a grumpy drunk”.

When she stayed out with friends, he punched her in the face and kicked her in the leg.

People she worked with then interfered. The woman said: “If people had just left matters alone we might have been able to make a go of it.”

But it led to a “home invasion” where she turned up at his home. He was drunk and holding a knife when he threatened to gouge out her eyes and slit her throat. She did receive some injury.

Police attended and he was arrested, but he later embarked on an elaborate scheme to try to get her to retract her statement to get the charges reduced.

Judge Farish said the woman’s physical injuries were luckily not great, but the violence caused significant psychological issues for her.

She reduced Casey’s sentence for his remorse, his good previous record and for his undertaking to pay emotional harm reparations. She decided by a narrow margin that a home detention sentence could be imposed.

She imposed the maximum term of 12 months with special conditions that he undertake assessment and treatment for substance abuse and anger management, and not possess alcohol during the sentence.

The risk of Casey acting in an abhorrent way again was very low if he went through rehabilitation.

She told him: “You can’t treat women as objects within relationships. You need seriously to address the way in which you handle relationships. You need to understand how a respectful relationship needs to function.”


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