Visit to playground lands Cobden woman in jail

A woman who deliberately breached an intervention order placed on her after a violent attack has been jailed for two months.

Kayla Ripohau, 23, of Curdie Street, Cobden, pleaded guilty in Warrnambool Magistrates Court to breaching the intervention order, which also activated a previously suspended five-month jail sentence.

Magistrate Jonathan Klestadt said going to a park may not have seemed a serious breach of the order, which was put in place after Ripohau attacked another woman. For that offence she was jailed for one month with another five months suspended for two years.

Conditions of the intervention order included that Ripohau not go within 200 metres of the victim’s address.

The magistrate said Ripohau had carelessly or wilfully breached the intervention order on October 16 at 2pm, when police said the victim had observed Ripohau at the playground 50 metres from the victim’s home. 

Police went to the playground after receiving information there was a dispute, but left when there was no incident. 

When they returned 30 minutes later Ripohau was still at the playground.

Ripohau told police she knew she was breaching the order but the playground was the only park in Cobden.

Mr Klestadt said it was clearly more important to Ripohau that she did what she wanted rather than obey the IVO.

He said the victim had the right to feel safe after being attacked and the jail sentence had been suspended on the condition Ripohau stay out of trouble for two years, but she had failed to do so.

Mr Klestadt said he decided  the suspended sentence would be only partly restored due to Ripohau’s care commitments to her son and grandmother.

Solicitor Amanda Chambers had submitted that imposing the five-month suspended jail sentence was disproportionate for a low-end breach of the IVO.

Ripohau was jailed for two months, convicted and fined $750. She has appealed against the severity of the sentence and been released on bail until a hearing in the Warrnambool County Court.

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