No jail time for man who whipped 8-year-old twins
A QUASI-stepfather whipped his partner's eight-year-old twins with a belt using such force they suffered significant bruising in what has been labelled a "weaponised assault".
Mackay District Court heard the man, in his 30s, had reached the "end of his tether" by their unruly behaviour and just "lost control".
His actions resulted in charges for armed assault.
"He readily accepts that he took it too far … he didn't mean to hit so hard as to cause bruises," barrister Scott McLennan said.
At the time the couple had been living in a one-bedroom cottage with the twins and his partner's other children just north of Mackay.
"I readily accept that at times life would have been chaotic and stressful," Judge Brad Farr said.
"None of that of course excuses what you did."
Early last year the man, who cannot be named for legal reasons, whipped the twins about four times with a belt.
Crown prosecutor Samantha O'Rourke said the assault against one twin was "effectively excessive discipline" over something the child had done.
"But the motivation of the assault upon the other child is unknown," Ms O'Rourke said.
The court heard both children went to hospital for their injuries, which was how the offending came to light.
"It was a weaponised assault against not one but two children," Ms O'Rourke said, adding that a jail term was justified but did not push for a custodial sentence.
The man pleaded guilty to assault causing bodily harm while armed.
Mr McLennan said the household had become "a very chaotic one" and the behaviour of the twins had deteriorated.
"They thought they had the run of the house and could do whatever they wanted," Mr McLennan said.
The twins' mother used corporal punishment and allowed the man to as well in disciplining the children.
"Throughout his own childhood (the man) was subjected to corporal punishment by his parents and he considered it to be a legitimate form of discipline," Mr McLennan said.
The court heard the man was remorseful, telling police he "felt disgusted with himself" and crying when he was shown photos of the bruises.
He is still in a relationship with the twins' mother, who was in court for support.
"You really went well beyond what would be considered appropriate by any reasonably minded person," Judge Farr said.
"The bruising one sees in the photographs was significant to each child and well demonstrates the degree of force that you used."
The man, who has previously completed two probation orders for domestic violence offending, was jailed for six months with immediate parole release. Convictions were recorded.