A POMBORNEIT man who dragged his step-daughter out of bed by her hair and smacked his son to the head has been placed on a community corrections order.
Paul Rodgers, 35, of Princes Highway, pleaded guilty in the Warrnambool Magistrates Court to two counts of both recklessly causing injury and unlawful assault.
He was placed on a 12-month order to do 50 hours’ community work and undertake treatment and rehabilitation for mental health issues, and complete a men’s behaviour change program.
Police said Rodgers was married with three children and had lived in Queensland before relocating to Pomborneit to live with his parents.
It was alleged there had been incidents of verbal and physical abuse in the past between Rodgers and his wife which had mostly not been reported to police. The couple were also worried about their 13-year-old daughter, Rodgers’ step-daughter, who had attempted self-harm.
Last year Rodgers dragged the girl out of bed by her hair after she would not get up. The girl’s head hit a bed post and Rodgers swore at her.
At another time Rodgers became enraged with his son who was looking for a cat with his two cousins under a house. He slapped the boy to the head, which hit the house and caused bruising.
In mid-December last year Rodgers became increasingly abusive to his wife. When he was not home, she started packing bags in an attempt to leave. But Rodgers returned and pushed his wife, who was 24 weeks’ pregnant, on to a bed and lay on her. An intervention order was later put in place.
Defence counsel Xavier Farrelly said the couple had a turbulent 10-year relationship, but the wife and children had returned to Queensland while Rodgers stayed in Pomborneit.
He said the couple had disagreed about parenting. “He did not set out to hurt his children but had attempted to discipline them,” Mr Farrelly said.
Magistrate Michael Coghlan said Rodgers had engaged in coercive behaviour towards his wife when she was trying to leave and had a “considerable misunderstanding” of how to behave towards other family members.