STATE OF TASMANIA v SCOTT ANDREW MARRIOTT 21 JULY 2020
COMMENTS ON PASSING SENTENCE BRETT J
Mr Marriott, you have pleaded guilty to one count of assault.
The crime was committed on 6 January 2019. At the time, you had just separated from your partner of 12 years. Although she was living elsewhere, she still had some property at your house. The relationship between you at that time was acrimonious and after a recent argument, you had told her that she could collect her property only if she came to the house on a prearranged basis with police. On the day of the assault, she arrived unexpectedly with the two complainants, who were her brother-in-law and nephew. She was also accompanied by two police officers. She had not prearranged this visit, and you refused her entry to the house. However, she gained entry to the house through a window. An argument developed between you, and police entered the house and removed you. Given that you were in lawful occupation of the house and your partner appears to have broken into it without consent, the lawful basis of your removal is not entirely clear to me. However, apart from providing the context for your later actions, this is not directly relevant to the crime for which you are being sentenced.
You returned to the house about an hour and a half later. Your former partner, the complainants, and the police were still there. The police were outside the house, but the others were inside, clearly still dealing with the removal of her property. You were upset and angry about the intrusion, and this was contributed to by the police not being inside the house to supervise what your partner was doing, which was your understanding of the reason for their presence. In any event, an argument developed between the complainants and you. The complainants told you to calm down and pushed you out of the house into a space in which you kept a compound bow and arrow. It was kept by you for the purpose of controlling snakes on your property. In your anger, you loaded it with an arrow and aimed it at the complainants, who were standing about 5 metres from you. One of the complainants closed the door between you. You then released the arrow, which landed at chest height in the wooden door. The door also had a number of glass windows. It is accepted that the arrow was not released by you until the door was closed and that your intention was that the arrow would land in the door as a threat. You did not intend to hit the complainants, but by acting as you did with the loaded bow, you committed an assault by way of threatening gesture.
By your plea of guilty to this crime, you accept that you intended to threaten the complainants and that they were actually threatened by your actions. They have provided brief impact statements which assert that they were in fear and have been affected by the experience since that time. Given the nature of the relationships, and the circumstances of the conflict on the day, I accept these statements with the usual degree of circumspection. However, I have no doubt that your actions caused some transient fear and concern. As I understand it, you accept that your actions would have had such an impact on the complainants, who, of course, were members of your partner’s family. I understand that they were well known to you, and prior to this were on good terms with you.
On the other hand, I accept your claim that you acted spontaneously and in reaction to what seems to be considerable provocation. Your partner had broken into your residence without your consent, you had been removed from it by police, and the complainants were arguing with you and asserting dominance over you, while being present in your house against your wishes. You may well have been entitled to use reasonable force to evict them from the premises. However, it is clear that this did not include threatening them with a lethal weapon and then firing an arrow at the door in a threatening manner. On any view of the situation, your reaction amounted to excessive and unreasonable force. Further, your use of the weapon is an aggravating factor, because the introduction of it into an emotive conflict such as this could easily have had serious, albeit unintended consequences. It goes without saying that you should have dealt with this situation in a lawful way.
You are 38 years of age. You have a reasonably lengthy criminal history, which includes some older offences involving assault and breach of family violence orders. You have had a problem in the past with the use of methylamphetamine, and it would seem that this was a significant factor in the breakup of your relationship. However, you claim to be on top of that problem at the moment. You have a reasonable employment history, and a number of young children and stepchildren. You and your partner have resumed your relationship, but you are still ostracised by her family because of these events. You claim to regret your actions. I will accept your plea of guilty as consistent with your claimed remorse.
While a serious threat with a lethal weapon would normally demand a sentence of imprisonment, having regard to the mitigating circumstances, your remorse and plea of guilty, and lack of prior convictions for conduct as serious as this, I am prepared to deal with this matter by way of a home detention order. A report has assessed you as suitable for such an order. The report also recommends a period of supervision, and I think that this would be useful. I will accordingly make a community correction order which will be for a slightly longer period than the home detention, but will otherwise operate contemporaneously with the home detention order.
Accordingly, I convict you of this crime and make a home detention order, which will have an operational period of nine months, commencing today. The home detention premises will be at [premises]. I note that the core conditions of the order contained in s 42AD(1) will have effect during the operational period of the order. This will include s 42AD(1)(g), which is the provision requiring submission to electronic monitoring. For the purposes of the condition contained in s 42AD(1)(c), I specify that you must during the operational period, be at the home detention premises at all times on each day of the week unless you are not there for a relevant reason, as specified in s 42AD(4). The order will also include the following special conditions:
1 That you must report to a probation officer at Community Corrections in Glenorchy immediately after that office opens for business tomorrow (22 July 2020).
2 That you must, during the operational period of the order, maintain in operating condition an active mobile telephone service, provide the details to your probation officer and be accessible for phone contact at all times.
3 You must not during the operational period of the order take any illicit or prohibited substances. Illicit and prohibited substances include:
(a) any controlled drug as defined by the Misuse of Drugs Act 2001;
(b) any medication containing an opiate, benzodiazepine, bupropion; hydrochloride or pseudoephedrine, unless you provide written evidence from a medical professional that you have been prescribed the relevant medication.
4 That you must not, during the operational period of the order, consume alcohol.
I also make a community correction order. You must comply with the order for a period of 12 months, and that period shall commence today. The core conditions of the order require you to report to a probation officer and you shall do so at the office of Community Corrections in Glenorchy immediately after that office opens for business tomorrow (22 July 2020). In addition to the core conditions, the order shall also include the following special conditions:
(a) you must, during the operational period of the order, attend educational and other programs as directed by the Court or a probation officer;
(b) you must, during the operational period of the order, submit to the supervision of a probation officer as required by the probation officer;
(c) you must, during the operational period of the order, undergo assessment and treatment for drug dependency as directed by a probation officer;
(d) you must, during the operational period of the order, submit to testing for drug use as directed by a probation officer;
(e) you must, during the operational period of the order, submit to medical, psychological or psychiatric assessment or treatment as directed by a probation officer;
(f) The community corrections order will also include a condition that you must attend, participate in and complete the EQUIPS addiction program as directed by a probation officer.