COURT: Woman beaten with steel pole in violent attack
A COFFS Harbour man who repeatedly struck a woman with a steel pole in what was described by the magistrate as a "very serious version of a domestic violence offence" has been convicted and sentenced.
Michael James Hoskins appeared before Magistrate Ian Rodgers at Coffs Harbour Local Court on Monday where he pleaded guilty to three charges including common assault, possess prohibited drug and drive while unlicensed.
The court heard on June 30, the 36-year-old had gotten into an argument with the victim at the home they both lived in with two children.
The facts state Hoskins walked into another room and picked up a 45cm long steel pole, before returning and striking the victim three times with the weapon.
The incident occurred in the presence of the children.
The court heard the woman was later forced to break back in to her own home to retrieve the children.
"Just because he was residing in the home doesn't make this offence any less serious. Everyone has a right to feel safe," Magistrate Rodgers said.
The court heard that earlier this year Hoskins had been caught driving while unlicensed, with officers finding he had been disqualified for five years back in 2014.
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In another incident, Hoskins was spoken to by police in Sydney's 'tent city' where he admitted he had cannabis.
"I'll be honest, I've got some sticks on me," he had told police.
Police then found him to be in possession of four foil sticks, containing around 8.65g of cannabis.
All of these offences were committed while Hoskins was serving a community corrections order for a drug supply offence which took place in a correctional facility last year.
In his sentencing on Monday, the defence argued Hoskins, who struggles with literacy and has been in and out of custody throughout his life, had found himself in a "positive" place for the first time.
They stated he had managed to secure stable employment doing labour work for the Coffs Harbour Health Campus upgrade.
"He has a lengthy criminal history, however at age 36 he has finally found stable employment.
"This is a man who has risen above his own background."
The prosecution however argued he had already been given the benefit of leniency previously.
"He seems to minimise his behaviour … and his history is of no assistance to him."
When handing down the sentence, Magistrate Rodgers warned that the domestic violence incident "bordered on" a jail sentence.
He sentenced Hoskins to an 18 month community corrections order, with a minimum of 100 hours community service.
For driving unlicensed, he was fined $330 and for drug possession he was fined $110.