The Supreme Court has ruled that a suspended sentence for a man, who battered his girlfriend because she refused to have sex, was “exceptionally lenient” especially given his criminal past behaviour.
According to local media, a 39-year-old male received an 18-month suspended sentence at the Limassol District Court in connection with charges of battery and assault during a domestic violence incident in June 2018.
The man’s ex-girlfriend, also aged 39, had a filed a complaint with Limassol police last year saying he became violent and struck her one evening following her refusal to have sex with him.
The district court heard evidence that the couple had just returned home in the early morning hours after a late night out. They had attended the christening of their baby earlier and then went out for drinks with her sister and aunt, while her mother and the baby slept in the couple’s living room. When the couple came home, the man wanted to have sex and the woman refused, telling him she was tired.
The Supreme Court said the initial sentence was 'clearly insufficient' and did not take into account the man's previous convictions relating to violent offences
The woman’s refusal infuriated her boyfriend, who started yelling and hitting her on the head. The baby also started crying while he also struck his mother-in-law who tried to stop him from hitting her daughter.
The court found the defendant’s behaviour “unjustified and inexcusable but also violent” while also taking into account a number of mitigating factors, such as his confession, his state of drunkenness, and the plaintiff’s recovery by the time of the trial. The judge sentenced him to 18 months with a three year suspension.
But Supreme Court judges who heard an appeal in the case this week found that the lower court handed down a “clearly insufficient sentence” without taking into consideration that the 39-year-old man had previous convictions, including sentences relating to violent offences.
According to local media, the man previously received suspended sentences in different trials at the Limassol District Court as well as the Episkopi Court serving the SBA Akrotiri, including a six-month suspended sentence in a burglary case, 45-day suspended sentence for grievous bodily harm, as well as other suspended sentences ranging from five to nine months for fraud, theft, and physical assault.
District court took away power of deterrence
The Supreme Court said the defendant had been given numerous opportunities in the past but failed to comprehend the logic behind the district court’s decision to hand down a suspended sentence.
“No matter how much the Court weighed the personal and family circumstances of the defendant, we fail to see how there had been mitigating factors that warranted a suspension of the sentence,” the Supreme Court said.
The chief justices also said the lower court “made an error in exercising its discretion” regarding the suspension of the sentence, which took away the power of deterrence that ought to be an integral part in the sentencing of violent crimes.