Man throat-grabs partner as cafe fight flares

VIOLENCE flared in their cafe when a man grabbed his much smaller partner around his throat and lifted his feet off the ground while pinning him up against a freezer.

The scuffle brought the pair dangerously close to a metal vat of bubbling oil heated to 180C.

The man, 35, a father of three children, was charged with a serious domestic violence offence and went before Ipswich District Court.

In the Crown case prosecuted by Caitlin Thompson, the man pleaded guilty to committing a choking/strangulation offence when in a domestic relationship.

Clearly remorseful for his actions, and representing himself legally, the man supplied medical evidence that he was seeing a psychologist about his violent behaviour and been diagnosed with depression and anxiety.

"I used to drink and smoke a lot, use marijuana, but don't do marijuana anymore," he told the court.

His partner was seated in the courtroom, offering his ongoing support.

Judge Alexander Horneman-Wren SC said he would not be sending him to jail, with a 12-month sentence suspended for 18 months.

He said the offence took place two years before in a food business the couple operated.

The argument had been over food stock.

Mr Horneman-Wren said the man had his hands around his partner's throat for a prolonged time and had also been pushing him around the kitchen.

His partner's breathing had been restricted and he'd lifted his feet off the ground.

"Placing your hands around a person's neck is a pretty dangerous thing to do," Mr Horneman-Wren said.

"Fortunately there was no loss of life, dangerous injury, but it is within a whisker.

"And done in a domestic setting.

"You were doing it in the kitchen where there was fryers, hot oil 180C.

"You were lucky when leaning him over the fryer his head did not go in. It would be much more serious.

"He received a minor injury but it could have been so different."

Mr Horneman-Wren said a letter written to the court by his mother about his background had been particularly helpful in giving an understanding of his disruptive past and childhood.

He noted that the man's three children live with the couple and there had been no offending since the violence in November 2016.

Taking into account his medical treatment and finding his rehabilitation prospects to be particularly good, Judge Horneman-Wren said a jail term was appropriate to deter him and others from committing domestic violence against their partners.

He suspended the jail term immediately.