Refugee jailed, facing deportation for domestic violence
A LOVE affair that began in a refugee camp has ended with the man jailed and at risk of deportation over domestic violence offences.
The 30-year-old man pleaded guilty in Ipswich District Court to assault causing bodily harm when armed; strangulation; four counts of common assault; and two counts of making threats.
The court heard that such violence in marriage was tolerated within the man's culture and it had taken a while for him to understand that his behaviour would not be tolerated in Australia.
The court heard the man had fled Myanmar, before meeting the older married woman when he was just 18 and in a Bangladesh refugee camp.
The court heard the woman was 29 years his senior.
She went to Australia with her husband, while the defendant was granted a Safe Haven visa after arriving illegally via boat about 18 months later from Malaysia
He too had married but they resumed their relationship and she left her husband, the court heard.
The offences committed against her occurred while they were living together in a domestic relationship near Ipswich.
Defence barrister Catherine Cuthbert said the violence likely arose because of stresses the couple faced because the relationship was frowned upon within their culture.
Ms Cuthbert said the man instructed her, "that in his culture there was an element of shame in their relationship because of their age disparity, and the nature of their relationship".
"It may be that the nature of the offending reveals a degree of frustration and anger by him because of shame and guilt," she said.
"He did have difficulty understanding why he was charged. It has been a journey for him as he has grappled with understanding Australian law.
"He has come to an understanding his behaviour is not permitted under Australian law. And has expressed both shame and remorse for the violation of the laws of his new country, the place where he wanted to make his new home.
"The victim was not seriously injured although he acknowledges she would have been very scared.
"He is aware through the community that she would like to reconcile with him but whether that happens it is something he will have to reflect upon. And also something for Immigration."
Judge Alexander Horneman-Wren SC noted the man's assault offences included knocking the victim to the floor causing her to lose consciousness, hitting her several times when holding a knife, punching her and hitting her with the handle of a knife.
He also choked her, and made threats to hurt her relatives.
Judge Horneman-Wren sentenced the man to a total of two years' jail.
The sentence will be suspended for three years after he serves five months behind bars.
After completing the five months he will be taken into immigration detention, with his fate to be determined by the Minister for Immigration.