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Alcohol behind family violence

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By Caitlin Bewley
(1st Year Swinburne Uni)

Remorse was evident from a woman’s demeanour in the Bacchus Marsh Magistrates Court November 16, crying silent sobs as the prosecutor read her case in front of a full court, before Magistrate Ron Saines.
66-year-old Marjuca Birch attended a Public House in Bacchus Marsh on June 4 when her husband was called by staff to pick her up, due to her high level of intoxication.
Prosecutor Senior Constable Lisa Schoemaker told the court that upon arriving home, the accused became verbally aggressive towards her husband.
The court heard the accused then went on to punch her husband to the head, telling him that “[he’s] going to pay for this” when police arrived on the scene.
It was alleged a similar incident occurred on September 21, where Birch returned home intoxicated and antagonised her husband to argue.
The accused allegedly went on to spit on her husband, as well as punch him to the head.
When interviewed by police, Birch denied punching her husband, saying she “doesn’t remember” and that she was “too drunk”.
The accused’s lawyer told the court Birch and her husband had been in a relationship for 31 years, and that 10 years ago her husband was injured at work and he became abusive.
Birch’s lawyer also spoke about her inability to cope with the stress of an abusive relationship, which led her to turn to alcohol in order to deal with her emotions.
“The periphery of this case is to give consideration of violence upon you in the past,” Magistrate Ron Saines said.
“This case illustrates how destructive alcohol and violence is on family relationships.”
Magistrate Saines fined Birch $1000, without conviction and enforced a good behaviour bond for 12-months.