A MAN who choked his pregnant partner and pulled on the handbrake while she was driving, causing her car to crash, has avoided a conviction.
The 33-year-old man appeared in the Bendigo Magistrates' Court on Tuesday where he pleaded guilty to charges including reckless conduct endangering serious injury.
The court heard on August 7, the man's pregnant partner picked him up from a friend's house after he spent the day drinking.
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During the drive, the couple argued after the woman told the man she wanted him to be sober in case she went into labour.
The man reached across and grabbed the woman around the throat, telling her he would show her what a bad person looked like.
The woman was driving in an 80km/h zone at the time. She pulled over to the side of the road, telling the man to get out of the car.
He refused and after some time, she continued driving.
The court heard she was travelling at 60km/h when the man pulled on the handbrake and moved the steering wheel, causing the car to swerve and collide into a drain and then a tree.
The crash caused a minor dent to the vehicle's front panel. The couple's friends had to help tow the car.
The woman went to the police station the next day to report the incident. The officers took photographs of the red marks that were left on her neck from the choking.
The man was arrested and interviewed. He made admissions to choking his partner, saying he "fully snapped" and it was the biggest regret of his life.
The court heard the man also breached the Chief Health Officer's COVID-19 lockdown orders on August 7 as he was away from his home.
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Defence lawyer Joseph Carbone told the court the partner had provided police with a statement of no complaint after her initial statement because she did not want the man to be charged.
Mr Carbone said the couple were still in a relationship and had bought a house together so they could look after their baby.
The defence lawyer said the woman was not working due to maternity leave so the man was providing the primary income for the household.
Mr Carbone said the 33-year-old had already started the men's behavioural change program and was receiving counselling for other mental health issues.
The defence lawyer submitted that as the man had no prior convictions, a good behaviour bond without conviction would be appropriate.
Magistrate Russell Kelly said he would not convict the man but a community corrections order would be more beneficial as the 33-year-old would be able to link in with support services.
"You get one chance because you have taken a lot of steps since this occurred," Mr Kelly said. "Women can't be treated this way.
"But you appear to be a man of very good character. It's in everyone's interest that you're given the support to remain in the community."
The man was sentenced to an 18-month community corrections order without conviction. Under the order, the man will have to complete the men's behavioural change program.
If you or someone you know is experiencing family violence, the Centre for Non-Violence is available on 1800 884 292. Safe Steps is a 24-hour statewide crisis line, available on 1800 015 188.
If you or someone else is in danger, call 000.
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