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Repeat offender receives intensive supervision

A man with “previous convictions for being violent towards women in relationships” dating back to 2005 pleaded guilty to charges of contravening a family protection order, assaulting a person in a family relationship, and resisting police when he appeared in the Masterton District Court on Tuesday.

The court heard that on January 28, defendant Quentin Clark approached the protected person in “an aggressive manner”, yelling and swearing.

“[The victim] fended you off with an open hand and made contact with your face. Your response was to push her onto the bed yelling at her,” Judge Barbara Morris said.

She described how the victim’s child was present at the time of the assault and “worried for his mother … bravely pushed you away.”

“Your response was you pushed him on the bed, climbed on top of him, and threatened to punch him by raising your fist on top of him. You got off of him, and you then climbed on top of the first victim, pressing your forearm against her throat.”

“Those that target the throat are those that are most dangerous to their victims and those that figure prominently in fatal statistics,” Judge Morris told the court.

“On top of that, you said to her, ‘I’m going to f**king kill you.”

Defence counsel Tom Andrews drew attention to the fact that “whānau and friends who have already provided assistance to Mr Clarke” were present in court to support him.

He said his client identified alcohol as contributing to his offending.

“He has told me he was in a work environment where the consumption of alcohol was normalized,” Andrews said.

Clark’s “attendance at church began to slide”, he said, and with it, a “slide into alcoholism”.

Andrews told the court his client “acknowledged he needed to be abstinent”.

He said neither the congregation of Clark’s church nor his partner are “naive about his offending” or “sought to minimise it,” but when he is sober, he is “a model father”.

Arguing in support of an intensive supervision sentence, Andrews pointed out that Clark had received an offer of employment and was “unlikely to re-offend”.

Police prosecutor Miranda Barton did not object to intensive supervision.

In sentencing, Judge Morris noted probation reports spoke about Clark’s “propensity for violence against intimate partners”, but also that he has shown genuine remorse.

“You have accepted responsibility in front of your community. You say you are sorry and want a different future, and you are doing the mahi,” she said.

“There is recognition by you that you have to do something about your alcohol addiction and that consuming alcohol will always be a risk factor for you.”

Judge Morris noted Clark had sought counselling through the Pathways service and has “the support of people who see your potential here today”.

She described the sentence of 15 months intensive supervision as one that will enable Clark to “carry on the good work that you’ve already been doing” to prevent reoffending.

“I wish you well. I’m sure that with all that work, you will never be back here again,” Judge Morris said in closing.

“It is hard changing our behaviours, but I’m sure you were able to do that.

“I should say if you are back here on family violence charges, prison will be the only option.”

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