A Ballarat man who shoved money down the throat of a former partner and bashed another will remain behind bars after he failed to have his minimum jail sentence reduced.
James Steponkus, 33, who pleaded guilty to 11 charges including two counts of recklessly causing injury, and one count of manufacturing a gun without a licence appealed an 18-month jail sentenced with a non-parole period of 10 months handed down on August 9 in the Ballarat Magistrates Court.
But after reading the summary of Steponkus’ offending on Wednesday, County Court Judge Wendy Wilmoth said she would not be reducing his minimum sentence.
“Violence is no answer to anything and violence against women is loathsome,” she told Steponkus.
Setting aside the magistrates’ orders, she sentenced Steponkus to 10 months’ imprisonment and replaced the non-parole period with a 12-month community corrections order with conditions to complete 100 hours of community work and undergo treatment for drug use.
Steponkus was arrested on June 25 when police attended a Grevillea Road address and found him with a loaded handgun he had crafted himself.
The accused had been released on bail three months earlier over a number of family violence related matters, one which involved Steponkus abusing a former partner over three days in 2012.
On the first day he punched the victim in the face following an argument.
He returned the next day and following another argument kicked the victim and punched holes in the walls. The victim was also punched in the face a number of times on the third day.
Almost a year later he faced another set of family violence charges after shoving money down a woman’s throat and telling her “here’s your money, suffocate on it you filthy whore”.
Steponkus’ barrister Jacob Kantor said once intervention orders were taken out on his client after the family violence related matters he “got the message” and never returned.
He added Steponkus’ offending occurred during drug use and homelessness.
Given it was Steponkus’ first time in custody, Mr Kantor argued it was a significant period. He said while prison was warranted, it must also be balanced with Steponkus’ limited prior history and the fact he would benefit from programs on a community corrections order to address his drug issues.
Judge Wilmoth said it was clear Steponkus was a troubled man who needed help and hoped the combination of jail and a CCO would help him rehabilitate.
But she warned Steponkus he was looking at more jail time if he breached the order.
Steponkus has already served 60 days.
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