Newspaper article The Observer (Gladstone, Australia)

Guilty Man Cries in Court; Woman Dragged by Neck Has Head Smashed into Steps

Newspaper article The Observer (Gladstone, Australia)

Guilty Man Cries in Court; Woman Dragged by Neck Has Head Smashed into Steps

Article excerpt

Byline: Sarah Steger Sarah.Steger@gladstoneobserver.com.au

BLINKING away tears, Justin James Blackman's head sunk lower and lower with each guilty verdict the jury standing in front of him delivered, until his head rested in shaking hands.

For over an hour, the 36-year-old's muffled cries were audible from behind a glass barrier, separating him from the rest of Gladstone District Court on Tuesday.

After the two-day trial by jury finished, it was up to Judge Michael Burnett to determine how severe of a sentence the three counts of assault/domestic violence warranted.

The court heard that in the early evening of February 25, the aggrieved arrived at Blackman's Barney Point home after Blackman called her more than 100 times - a number defence lawyer Jordan Ahlstrand told the jury was exaggerated.

"He accepts he called her about 20 times," he said.

The court heard while no words were exchanged directly after the aggrieved arrived, Blackman soon asked her to get him drugs and "help (him) get on".

When she refused, things escalated.

Prosecutor Alexandra Baker, who appeared for the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions, said the aggrieved left and proceeded down the street at a brisk walk/run pace.

Pursuing her, Blackman shoved the aggrieved to the ground, causing her to graze her left elbow and hip, and tear her black shirt.

Before the verdict was delivered, Mr Ahlstrand told the jury the aggrieved was merely "touched" on the shoulder before she fell.

"He didn't mean for her to fall," he said.

Photos of three scratches on the aggrieved's neck/

chest area, a consequence of the defendant raking his fingernails across the aggrieved's skin, were also submitted during the trial.

The court heard the defendant then locked the aggrieved into a choke-hold with his arm around her neck, tugging and dragging her some six metres back towards the home.

Once he reached the top of a set of stairs, he pushed the aggrieved's head down, smashing it onto a step two or three times. …

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