VIGILANTES who threatened violence against a man on Facebook for bashing his pregnant partner did nothing but undermine the course of justice, a Bathurst magistrate has warned.
Magistrate Bruce Williams last week sentenced the 23-year-old to 16 months' jail, with a non-parole period of 10 months, after the accused was convicted on a string of domestic violence charges which included headbutting and choking his partner.
The court had heard the first assault took place while the man's partner was heavily pregnant with his child. In a subsequent assault, she was holding their newborn child when the man headbutted her and attempted to choke her.
During submissions, the accused's solicitor Shane Cunningham told the court his client had been assaulted once and a campaign on social media had outlined further retribution against not only the accused but his family as well.
Mr Cunningham said the accused's younger sister had moved from Bathurst as result of the threats which were made against the family.
He also said that after being charged by police his client had been assaulted by another man, with that individual "acknowledging on Facebook that conduct would be repeated".
Mr Cunningham said the assault against his client had been reported to police but the accused had asked that no action be taken against the perpetrator.
In his submissions to the court, Mr Cunningham argued that as a result of the Facebook campaign and assault, his client had suffered extra-curial punishment and asked the court take this into consideration. (Extra-curial punishment is punishment that occurs without the approbation of the court.)
In sentencing the accused, Mr Williams said the threats on Facebook and the vigilante approach taken by some in the matter was "very concerning".
"People who commit (this behaviour) have a bent view that they serve some type of higher purpose," Mr Williams said.
"But what they are really doing is reducing the penalty (the court hands out).
"That's the problem with vigilantes, because (the court sees) they (the accused) have already received some other penalty for it.
"I'm the one with all the information before me, not some person out in the street.
"I take into account what has happened."