Outrage over "inadequate" sentence for pregnant girlfriend basher

Women's Health Grampians CEO Patty Kinnersly.

Women's Health Grampians CEO Patty Kinnersly.

A BALLARAT women's health group and advocate for violence against women has deplored the "inadequate" sentence of a Ballarat man who almost killed his pregnant girlfriend.

Speaking of Dean Speedie's community corrections order, handed down by judge Liz Gaynor in the Melbourne County Court last week, Women's Health Grampians CEO Patty Kinnersly said the "backwards" sentence would further hurt women currently suffering at the hands of abusive partners. 

Speedie's former partner is lucky to be alive after the 2006 attack in which Speedie kicked, punched and stomped on the head of his pregnant girlfriend. 

He then fled arrest and remained on the run for more than seven years. 

Crown prosecutors had called for Speedie's immediate imprisonment, but Judge Gaynor last week disagreed saying that had Speedie may not have offended if not on drugs at the time. 

Ms Kinnersly said the sentence was a "complete reversal" of what Women's Health Grampians had been working towards for many years. 

"This message says to the community, 'look it's alright if you assault your partner, as long as you're under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time.'" - Patty Kinnersly

"There is never an excuse for violence against women," Ms Kinnersly said. 

"This message says to the community, 'look it's alright if you assault your partner, as long as you're under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time.

"Where does the line get drawn then? Is it ok if you've lost your job? Is it ok if you've just lost your house in a fire? There is never an excuse."

Sentencing Speedie to a three year corrections order, including 300-hours of community work, Judge Gaynor said she was "satisfied" the offending took place because of Speedie's intake of drugs and alcohol. 

Speedie, 34, had been a drug addict since 13 and was affected by alcohol and the drug Xanax when he assaulted his partner. 

Ms Kinnersly said the outcome would cause women suffering abuse to think twice about reporting it.

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