A LONG Gully man has been fined $2000 for spitting in his ex-girlfriend’s face twice – and only his lack of prior offences stopped him from being sent to jail, a court has heard.
The 30-year-old, who has not been identified to protect the victim, pleaded guilty in the Bendigo Magistrates’ Court on Monday to one count of unlawful assault.
The court heard the pair’s relationship broke down a year before the offence.
The man was visiting the woman’s address in January to collect his belongings when an argument started, and he started throwing items at a fence.
He then brandished a golf club at the woman’s car, before spitting in her face twice. He pushed the woman, who fell into a garden bed and sustained scratches.
One person witnessed the incident and contacted police, and the man was arrested soon after.
The man attempted to avoid a conviction in court, believing it would make it difficult to travel overseas in the future.
But Magistrate Patrick Southey said he had bigger things to worry about.
“A conviction? He should be more concerned about going to jail,” he said.
“Spitting in a woman’s face is arguably more serious than the push.
“If he had any prior history of violence, in particular violence against women, he would be in jail for this.”
The court heard of a recent similar case from the Broadmeadows Magistrates’ Court in which a man was jailed for spitting in the face of a Hungry Jack’s employee.
Prosecutor Leading Senior Constable Alan Walker said a conviction and fine would be an appropriate punishment given the lack of history of violence against women.
Mr Southey agreed, and said the man would have faced 14 days prison if it was his second offence.
“You won’t go to jail, or be placed on a community order,” he said.
“It’s not just about you, it’s about sending a message to all men in the community – violence against women is a serious problem.
“A message has to be sent, and I’m not satisfied that a conviction alone will impact you.”
The man was convicted and fined $2000, with $79 in court costs.