Colin Dempsey placed on CCO, jail dropped on appeal

FIGHTING parents were blasted in court by a judge who reduced a prison term for an offender to a community corrections order.

Colin Dempsey, 43, of Mitchell Crescent, Portland, appealed against the severity of a three-month jail sentence in the Warrnambool County Court on Thursday.

That penalty was reduced to an 18-month CCO with strict conditions but not before judge Liz Gaynor roasted the parents whose actions prompted a boy to ring police for help.

Dempsey was jailed for three months in the magistrates court on May 1 this year but appealed against the severity of that sentence. 

Crown prosecutor David O'Doherty said Dempsey had pleaded guilty to charges including recklessly causing injury and causing damage. 

At 8.35pm on January 13 Dempsey and his partner argued at their home and he slapped her causing a split lip.

The woman's nine-year-old son called police for assistance. 

The woman locked the front door when Dempsey went outside, prompting him to hit and crack a window before he got hold of a rock which he repeatedly threw at the front door. 

When police arrived they saw Dempsey throwing the rock, he was in a rage, approached the officers with the rock and they used capsicum foam to subdue him. 

Dempsey admitted his offending, saying he had had enough and slapped his partner, but that he was in a rage and couldn't stop. 

He said he had had enough of being pushed and tormented.

Defence counsel Tim Sullivan said his client had a long list of prior court appearances, that both Dempsey and the woman were drug addled on the day of the incident and had been for years. 

He said Dempsey stopped drinking after falling through a window requiring treatment which included 140 staples. 

Mr Sullivan said Dempsey explained that speed had ruined his life.

Judge Gaynor said speed didn't come and knock on someone's door and say "take me".

She said a statement to police from the woman, who appeared in court supporting Dempsey,  indicated that much of what had happened was her fault. 

"The children would have been absolutely terrified because of your stupid behaviour," she said, describing the son as being the adult in the family.

The judge said it was concerning that the boy knew to ring police and commented that it was probably not the first time he had to do so because of his parents. 

Dempsey was also jailed for a week in late August after he was being called by the boy for assistance after the mother fell over while drinking at her birthday party. 

The judge said it would be nice if she could place both parents on a court order because of the fear and trauma they were causing to the children. 

"I am completely unimpressed," she said.

"To the children it must feel like nuclear war has broken out, it's disgraceful behaviour. So far all you have done is terrify them. It must have been a living nightmare for them.

"I have no doubt you love your children but you have to both grow up."

Judge Gaynor said people worried about children in Syria due to the conflict there but during the January incident when Dempsey was throwing the rock at the house it must have felt like the home was being bombed to the children inside.

An 18-month CCO was put in place with strict conditions including that Dempsey do alcohol and drug assessment, treatment and rehabilitation and programs including the men's behaviour change program and an anger management course. 

Judge Gaynor heard that Dempsey had not held a job for 10 years and said: "it’s time to grow up and get a job".

She said Dempsey would have to come back to court every six weeks for judicial monitoring for at least six months and if any Office Of Corrections report was not positive he could expect to be jailed.