A man who grabbed his partner around the neck after a dispute over cans of coke has been spared jail.
Jeremy Riley, 40, was re-sentenced in the County Court in Ballarat on Friday to a two-year community corrections order and convicted on charges of unlawful assault and breaching an intervention order.
The court heard Riley and his partner returned to their home after getting KFC in March and an argument began when he noticed cans of coke were missing from the fridge.
Crown prosecutor Andrew Moore said Riley became angry, accused his partner of giving the cans to other men and threw a chip at her leg, before grabbing her neck and causing a scratch.
Riley told police he had 'no intention to hurt her' when he was arrested the next day.
Why should anyone be treated like that?... What comfort can I feel he won't re-offend in this way?Judge Michael Bourke
An intervention order served four days after his arrest prevented Riley from contacting or being within five metres of his partner, but on April 5 police saw the pair having dinner together at a bistro in Redan.
In his summary to the court, Mr Moore also spoke of Riley's long criminal history and prior convictions including stalking and breaking an intervention order against a former partner.
Defence lawyer Kristen Morrow said Riley had recently gained employment, had not used drugs for 'quite a period of time' and remained in a relationship with the victim who is now 25 weeks pregnant.
The victim attended the court to support Riley with his Aunty.
"There has been no further offending and they present as quite a happy couple who are working on things together," Ms Morrow said.
"He has had quite a wake up call with this pregnancy and is aware his behaviour is not acceptable."
Judge Michael Bourke said Riley's case had some of the 'classic features' of what the community had become concerned about.
"A few cans of coke missing from the fridge and he accuses her of being unfaithful and grabs her," he said.
"Why should anyone be treated like that?... What comfort can I feel he won't re-offend in this way?
"I have got some doubt here."
During the appeal, Judge Bourke imposed conditions Riley must complete 300 hours of unpaid work within two years, men's behaviour change and family violence intervention programs, and must reappear before the court for judicial monitoring in February.
Judge Bourke overturned Riley's previous one month jail sentence handed down in the Ballarat Magistrates Court in June when he pleaded guilty to the two charges of unlawful assault and breaking an intervention order.
"I am going to give you a chance to prove me wrong," Judge Bourke said.
"You will appear before me again on February 18 and I will be asking about how your relationship is going. If you are not respecting your partner in the way that you should I will take action."
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