Home Crime Magistrate describes family violence as ‘grubby little thing behind closed doors’

Magistrate describes family violence as ‘grubby little thing behind closed doors’


By Caitlin Bewley (1st Yr Swinburne Uni)

A 22-year relationship has come crashing down after serious acts of family violence, fuelled by alcohol. Mark Gillespie, a 57-year-old mining excavator from Bacchus Marsh, was alleged to have physically abused his then wife after a night on the drink. On May 4 of this year, the accused was said to have kicked his wife in the stomach whilst she was sitting on a bean bag with their two and half year-old granddaughter. Prosecutor Senior Constable Lisa Schoemaker told the court on Friday 10 August that the accused then grabbed the victim around the neck, leaving red marks where he had attempted to strangle the victim. The prosecutor told Magistrate Simon Zebrowski that the accused believed his wife was having an affair, which caused his enraged outburst. The victim contacted police and Gillespie was arrested and interviewed by police, to which he said “why would I kick her? I was watching TV.” “His work mates think highly of him,” the accused’s lawyer said whilst handing a letter to the Magistrate. “He’s seeing a psychologist at the moment and suffers from depression because of the end of this long relationship,” the lawyer said. “He might be a good person and I am not judging him off his character,” Magistrate Simon Zebrowski said. “But this is a secret, a grubby little thing that goes on behind closed doors.” The accused’s lawyer said replied, “These things happen.” “Well I guess you could say the same thing in a murder plea,” Magistrate Zebrowski rebutted. “That’s what they call a red flag assault in family violence, a grab around the throat.” Gillespie was given 12-months good behaviour without conviction, and a donation of $500 to White Ribbon, plus he is to undergo a mental behaviour program.