Violent assault on woman leads to chasing man with car

A MOTHER whose long- term lover struck her in the face later snapped when she tried to run him down in her car, a Bundaberg court has heard.

Veronica Johnson, 39, who had no conviction recorded for the offences, pleaded guilty in Bundaberg Magistrates Court to dangerous operation of a vehicle - domestic violence offence, drink driving and contravening a police requirement.

Magistrate Belinda Merrin found Johnson had been a victim of a domestic violence incident prior to her dangerous drive offence, and sentenced her to 18 months of probation.

Johnson's drivers licence was suspended for nine months.

Prosecutor Senior Constable Tina Bland said police had been called to

a disturbance in a Bundaberg park at 7.30pm on August 4.

Police were told a car was driven into Norville Park and it appeared the driver was trying to run over a man.

Constable Bland said police found a Ford Falcon covered in dust, with four children inside.

The car was damaged, there were many tyre tracks in the park, and there was scraped bark on a nearby tree consistent with being struck by the car.

Johnson told officers the man, Shane Kent, had hit her and walked off into the park.

"She (said) she made numerous attempts to hit him (in car) and wishes she had hit him harder. She attempted to run him over," Constable Bland said.

Johnson was breath tested and gave an alcohol reading of 0.085.

Constable Bland said Johnson had first reversed down the driveway of her home and a witness on Branyan St saw the car chase a man (Kent).

The man had gone into the park and the witness said the car was driven into the park, causing dust clouds, saying it looked

like the driver was deliberately trying to run down the man.

Defence lawyer Thomas Bray told Ms Merrin that she had sentenced Kent for assault earlier that same day and he was in jail.

Mr Bray said Johnson did attempt to strike Kent in the car and been in an on-off relationship with him for three years.

Mr Bray said Johnson drank two or three cans and had not felt affected by it.

"Unfortunately there were children in the car at the time," he said.

Mr Bray said Johnson "snapped", and had been trying to drive the car at him, with the behaviour due to her state of mind at the time.

He said when Kent was in the driveway Johnson went to reverse the car toward him and he ran across the road into the park.

"She believed she struck him once with the car," Mr Bray said.

Mr Bray sought probation and not a jail term, citing her prior good history, that Kent was not injured, and that Kent admitted to violently assaulting her an hour or two before.

In sentencing Johnson, Ms Merrin said it was a relatively protracted event and Johnson told police that her intention was to hit him with the car.

"It is clear this offence is a serious example of a dangerous operation. You were attempting to use that vehicle as a weapon," Ms Merrin said.

She said such conduct would ordinarily result in a prison term but she would consider all matters of mitigation, and circumstances relevant to Johnson.

She said Kent struck Johnson to the face,

causing significant injury prior to the offence, and

he had pleaded guilty and been sentenced to a prison term.

"I accept you were a victim of regular domestic violence, a significant matter I must take into consideration," she said.

"The act of domestic violence to you in such proximity in this incident, that reduces your culpability for this offence."

Shane Lindsay Kent was jailed for nine months after he pleaded guilty in Bundaberg Magistrates Court to contravening a domestic violence protection order (aggravated offence) in Miller St, Norville on August 4; obstructing police; and drug-driving (methyl- amphetamine) on June 26.

Prosecutor, Senior Constable Tina Bland said Kent contravened a protection order in place for Veronica Johnson.

She said Kent called Ms Johnson to drive him home after he'd been drinking at a sports club and then been violent towards her in the car.

"Police were called to an incident in a car park (in Miller St). He'd struck her several times and became aggressive towards police, saying, 'you're a dog'," Snr Const Bland said.

"He continued to interrupt and was arrested for obstruction. "In the past he has slashed her tyres, punched her in the face, smashed windows."

Defence lawyer Edwina Rowan said Kent suffered from anxiety.

Magistrate Belinda Merrin told Kent he caused injury to Ms Johnson and had a significant criminal history, including a 15-month jail term for an assault on police.

He'd also been convicted of assault causing bodily harm.

At the time of sentence Kent had spent 60 days in custody.

Ms Merrin sentenced him to nine months jail and set a parole release date of November 6.

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