A NARINGAL man who brutally choked his partner after a “booze cruise” through country pubs has appealed a 16-month jail sentence.
Clement Reid Rhyne, 42, of Panmure Road, Naringal, was sentenced in the Warrnambool Magistrates Court yesterday after strangling his partner while whipping her with a phone charger.
The court heard the couple spent the afternoon and evening of January 24 travelling between pubs in Allansford, Boggy Creek and Panmure. They also consumed alcohol in the car, driven by the victim, which had a disabled interlock device.
About midnight the pair arrived home at a dairy farm where the accused was living.
Giving evidence from a remote witness room via a screen, the victim, a mother of four, told the court she feared for her life during the attack.
“He grabbed me by the collar and slammed me down ... he choked me three times until I lost my breath,” she said.
“I thought he was going to kill me.”
The victim fled to a nearby farm property where she stole a car and drove to a relative’s house in Warrnambool, reporting the assault to police the following day.
There were no charges pressed for the stolen car.
Rhyne pleaded not guilty to the charges, including recklessly causing injury.
Magistrate Ian von Einem said he did not accept Rhyne’s version of events that the victim had injured herself by running through nearby bushland and broken farm machinery after Rhyne refused to share his Valium tablets.
“The version she gave I accept. I do not believe the defendant,” Mr von Einem said.
“It must have been a horrific and fearful incident for her,” he told Rhyne.
“I think it was a particularly serious assault, one where the victim felt her life was in jeopardy.”
Mr von Einem described the attack as “a severe beating” and one at the high end of domestic violence.
The accused maintained his innocence under cross-examination, repeatedly saying “I didn’t lay a finger on her”.
Defence counsel for the accused, Robert Thyssen, urged the court to consider his client’s psychological state, including depression and anxiety.
The court heard Rhyne had multiple prior convictions, including two suspended sentences.
Mr von Einem sentenced Rhyne to 16 months in prison, including 10 months of two suspended sentences.
His non-parole period is eight months.
Rhyne immediately declared his intention to appeal the sentence in the County Court at a date to be fixed.
He was bailed under conditions that he not contact witnesses or enter licensed premises.