Ballarat magistrate dismisses some charges in domestic violence incident, then jails Navigators man

A Ballarat magistrate has dismissed an intentionally causing injury charge levelled against a man accused of grabbing his former partner around the throat.

Police had alleged Anthony Scott Bentley started an argument with the woman, choked her, slapped her and smashed her mobile phone two days before Christmas Day in 2017.

The domestic violence incident escalated outside the Sebastopol home where the complainant threw white paint on Bentley and on his car before she fled in fear.

The former couple’s 18-month-old daughter witnessed the ordeal.

Bentley, of Navigators, claimed during a contested hearing at the Ballarat Magistrates Court his former partner started the argument and he acted in self-defence.

Magistrate Ron Saines on Friday dismissed charges of intentionally causing injury and stealing a lap top, handbag and Christmas presents.

But he found Bentley guilty of damaging the woman’s mobile phone, resisting police arrest and contravening a family violence intervention order.

Mr Saines said Bentley’s behaviour in smashing his former partner’s mobile phone was linked to a domestic violence incident.

“Damaging property was done to exercise power and control over (the complainant). That falls in the definition of family violence,” Mr Saines said.

He said it was unacceptable a domestic violence incident had occurred in front of a child while an intervention order was in place.

“The conduct of (the complainant) and Mr Bentley was a serious exposure of a child to violence. There was attempts to smash car windows when the baby was in the car. There appears to be an on-going physical brawl between them in the presence of the child,” Mr Saines said.

The magistrate sentenced Bentley as a repeat offender, saying it was the third time he had been sentenced in relation to violence.

Bentley was handed a 10-month jail sentence, of which he has already served 201 days.

When he is released from prison in October, he will be placed on a 12-month Community Corrections Order. 

Bentley pleaded not guilty to six charges, including intentionally causing injury, damaging property, contravening a family violence intervention order, theft and resisting police.

He was not entitled to a lenient sentence because he did not plead guilty to the charges, showing no remorse for his conduct.