Luke Sutherland accused of assaulting woman in front of toddler | The Canberra Times

news, crime, Luke Sutherland

A 26-year-old who allegedly grabbed a woman by the throat and hit her in front of her toddler with a piece of a broken photo frame has been granted bail to attend rehab. Luke Sutherland fronted the ACT Magistrates Court on Friday via audio-visual link from the Alexander Maconochie Centre. Prosecutor Erin Priestly noted the man had a significant history of family violence offending in NSW, as well as a charge of intimidating a court witness. But lawyer Sam McLaughlin said Mr Sutherland’s last conviction was recorded some three-and-a-half years ago. He said there was a significant amount of maturing that happened between the ages of 23 and 26. Mr McLaughlin said Mr Sutherland would have no means of contacting his alleged victim if he were released on bail to attend a four-day-a-week program at Ngunnawal Bush Healing Farm. In documents tendered to the court, police alleged Mr Sutherland had been out drinking before he went to a Bruce unit about 11.20pm on September 28 and called a woman a slut and a bitch. The documents said Mr Sutherland grabbed the woman by the throat and pinned her up against a door that night, before he threw a remote in her direction. Police alleged the assault continued the next morning when Mr Sutherland smashed the woman’s photo frames, and used a broken piece from one to hit her on the leg as she attempted to bend over and pick up her toddler. The documents alleged Mr Sutherland also smashed a snow globe on the ground and pushed the woman over so she landed in the liquid from it. In court on Friday, Mr McLaughlin said that while Mr Sutherland hadn’t been formally accepted into the rehab, he had passed its assessment process “with flying colours”. He said that, before the program started, Mr Sutherland could live at Casey. The 26-year-old has been charged with destroying or damaging property, assault occasioning actual bodily harm and choking, suffocating or strangling the woman. Special Magistrate Margaret Hunter was initially hesitant to grant Mr Sutherland bail before he’d been formally accepted into the program, but it was noted that it would be very unlikely he would be rejected. She granted Mr Sutherland bail on conditions including that he provide a $500 surety to the court and not use drugs. Mr Sutherland will next appear in court on December 8.

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