A SNAKE Valley man has been jailed for 26 months after he held his wife and another woman hostage during a 30-hour police siege in June last year.
Edward Keith Smithman, 46, appeared in the County Court in Ballarat this morning where he pleaded guilty to false imprisonment and two counts of assault with a weapon.
The court heard that following an argument with his wife, Janelle Smithman, at the couple’s home on the night of June 13, Smithman grabbed a scrabble board which his wife and friend had been using and threw it in the fire.
Mrs Smithman then smashed his laptop on the ground and a wrestle between the couple ensued.
The friend, Sue Addison, huddled the three children in their bedrooms — two who belonged to both Smithman and his wife, and one just to Mrs Smithman — and called 000.
Following the call and the realisation there were firearms in the house, police cordoned off the area and began negotiations.
Photos from the siege
While Smithman was on the phone to police, his wife noticed a loaded .22 calibre rim fire rifle laying on the bed, but when she went to grab it her husband wrestled it from her grip.
Smithman pointed the weapon directly at his wife and then Ms Addison who walked in to the bedroom.
About 2am Ms Addison and the children were allowed to leave the premises following negotiations.
Mrs Smithman made a run for it when her husband fell asleep several hours later.
Smithman eventually surrendered to police in the early hours of the following day — about 30 hours after the police standoff began.
Defence lawyer Stephen Payne urged the court not to impose further immediate jail time upon his client, taking into account 51 days already served.
Mr Payne said Smithman’s upbringing had been “abusively violent on the one hand and loving on the other”.
He said his client “craved” reconciliation in his troubled relationship with Mrs Smithman, and did not pre-plan the ordeal.
But Judge Joe Gullaci said 51 days in prison was not enough.
“It seems to me it must call for the imposition of a significant period of imprisonment,” he said.
The Crown submitted that Smithman serve up to three-and-a-half years in jail.
Judge Joe Gullaci sentenced Smithman to 26 months in jail, with a 12-month minimum.