STATE OF TASMANIA v DANNY ANDREW GRAHAM 23 MAY 2023
COMMENTS ON PASSING SENTENCE PEARCE J
Danny Graham, you plead guilty to assault. The crime was committed on 22 February 2023 against Tracey Hoskinson. On 27 January 2023 you were released from prison having served a sentence of almost six years for being an accessory after the fact to murder. You began to live with Ms Hoskinson. You were aged 34 and she was aged 54. Despite the difference in your ages you had been in a relationship for about two years. The relationship began after you had been released on parole in 2020 and continued even though your parole was revoked in 2021. She continued to support you while you were in custody. On the day of the assault you and Ms Hoskinson had been drinking. You were both highly intoxicated and you argued. She was so affected by alcohol that she lost consciousness while seated on a chair. She woke to you punching her face and the back of her head. She fell to the floor but was able to flee to a neighbour’s house where the police were called. She was taken to hospital by ambulance. Her face was badly bruised and swollen, she had a bleed within her eye and a laceration to the back of her head.
It seems, very fortunately, that Ms Hoskinson has not experienced any lasting impact from her physical injuries. At least I was not told anything to the contrary. However to be assaulted in such a way by someone she trusted must have been very traumatic for her and must inevitably have some psychological effect. Despite this she wishes to continue the relationship with you and remains supportive. That means that one important sentencing factor is specific deterrence, that is, that you clearly understand the likely consequences should something like this happen again in the hope that it will stop you from acting in such a way.
You are now 35. Your parents were a positive influence. You were medicated for ADHD until your teens but then resorted to heavy abuse of drugs and alcohol which has badly affected your life since then. You have a long record for dishonesty. You were sentenced in 2007 for aggravated robbery and in 2008 for aggravated armed robbery but those crimes were committed when you were a relatively young man. Despite your poor record in other respects you have no prior convictions for assault or for family violence offences even though you have been in relationships during your life. This crime was committed very soon after your release from prison for a very serious crime. Your intoxication at the time might partly explain what you did but it does not excuse or lessen the seriousness of it. Courts and the community strongly condemn drunken assaults of females particularly within relationships. Sentencing courts repeatedly emphasise how serious family violence is and the sentence I impose must reflect that.
It is in your favour that you have quickly pleaded guilty. You are sorry and have accepted responsibility for what you did although your memory of it is limited. You intend to seek assistance from various prison services while you are serving your sentence. I also accept that you seem to understand how serious this is and that it must not happen again. Given the nature and seriousness of the assault the only appropriate sentence is a term of imprisonment, but as an incentive for you to not re-offend I will suspend part of the term. You must understand that if, while that order is in force, you commit any offence punishable by imprisonment, either while you are in prison or following your release, you will breach a condition of that sentence and the court must order that you serve the suspended part of the term in addition to any other sentence which is imposed. You have been in custody since your arrest on 22 February 2023.
Danny Graham, you are convicted. I direct that the offence be recorded on your criminal record as a family violence offence. You are sentenced to a term of imprisonment of 12 months from 22 February 2023. I suspend four months of that term for two years from today.