Sarah Hanson-Young defends writing character reference for man who assaulted his wife


Canberra 2600

Greens senator Sarah Hanson-Young has defended a reference she wrote for a man charged with assault in a family violence case.

Key points:

  • Sarah Hanson-Young says a man charged with assault had supported her when she stood up to sexist bullying
  • The man has admitted to striking his wife across the face after an argument about who should prepare dinner
  • The senator says it’s “absurd” to suggest that her reference indicates she condones domestic violence

The man was sentenced in the ACT Magistrates Court this week after he admitted to striking his wife during an argument.

However, the South Australian senator, who often champions women’s causes, said any suggestion she condoned domestic violence was “absurd”.

Court documents revealed that the couple argued last December over whether the man should help her peel potatoes.

The woman then threw a wooden spoon that missed her husband and landed on the floor.

The documents said the man then overpowered the woman and forced her onto the couch, where he hit her across the face.

Police arrived after a triple-0 call.

In a statement lodged with the court, police said the man admitted to hitting his wife and said that, in addition to throwing the spoon, she had tried to bite him.

The police said no bite marks were observed.

In court this week, the man was placed on a six-month good behaviour bond, with no conviction recorded.

‘He was very supportive of me’: Hanson-Young

In her character reference, Senator Hanson-Young said she was shocked when she heard about the charge.

She also referred to her long-running defamation battle against former senator David Leyonhjelm over sexist bullying, which she won late last year.

“Since before the legal action commenced, and through the whole of this difficult process, [the man] has been very supportive of me standing up to this bullying behaviour,” Senator Hanson-Young said.

“[The man] has offered both personal support and sound counsel.”

“He was one of the key people that advised me to take legal action on the issues.”



Photo:

Sarah Hanson-Young launched legal proceedings against David Leyonhjelm in August. (ABC News: Matt Roberts)

Senator Hanson-Young noted the man had helped her with the drafts of her book on the topic, and the emotional toll the case had on her and her daughter.

“I cannot reconcile the person I know as acting in any way criminally; our mutual friends are also of this view,” she said.

“Obviously [the man] has told me that he has no intention of reoffending in the future, and given of what I know of his character I am confident that no re-offence will occur.”

Senator Hanson-Young also said the man was now back in his family home after reconciling with his wife.

In a statement released on Friday, she said she gave the reference with the support of the man’s wife.

“I do not condone domestic violence — any suggestion otherwise is absurd.”

Source: https://www.abc.net.au/news