Court hears Rocky man targeted by violent prisoners in jail
A MAN has avoided spending three more months in prison after the judge heard the man had been assaulted for his erratic behaviour, caused from a mental health issue, during his last incarceration.
Duncan Wayne Monaghan, 40, pleaded guilty in the Rockhampton District Court on Friday to one count of choking and one count of assault occasioning bodily harm.
He had spent 106 days in pre-sentence custody in the Capricornia Correction Centre and was sentenced on Friday to 18 months prison for the choking offence, which normally an offender had to serve at least one-third of the prison term.
Defence barrister Ross Lo Monaco said his client was diagnosed with a drug-induced psychosis when he was 19 and two months leading up to the offences before the court, he had not been taking his medication.
"Not taking his medication has an adverse affect on his mental state and behaviour," he said.
The court heard that during his pre-sentence incarceration, Monaghan was assaulted by other prisoners due to his erratic behaviour and prison authorities had to move him four times to protect him.
Upon his release, Monaghan found someone had sold or given away all of his belongings and for a time, he was homeless.
Mr Lo Monaco outlined how Monaghan was very proud of his teenage daughter, which he surmised was Monaghan's focal point in life, and wanted to be a better role model for her.
He said Monaghan had also publicly spoken about his battles with his mental health issues and had one of his speeches published.
The court heard Monaghan, who has never had any gainful employment, had undertaken courses and training in hospitality, commercial cooking and had spent three years working on a Bachelor of Arts and Creative Writing degree.
He also has published a CD of music.
Mr Lo Monaco said his client was remorseful over his actions which led to the charges of choking and assault.
He informed the court Monaghan did not use his mental health issues as an excuse for his behaviour.
Crown prosecutor Megan Jones told the court Monaghan had been living with his then partner when they went shopping one day and arguments erupted on August 12, 2016.
Monaghan had returned to their Park Avenue home ahead of his partner and when she and her daughter arrived, they found him smoking a bong.
An argument erupted and Monaghan threw the bong at his partner. He then grabbed her by the throat with his right hand, pushed her up against a wall and then punched her right jaw.
After releasing his grip on her throat, he grabbed her by the hair and dragged her to the floor where she sustained more injuries.
Her daughter ran outside to call for help and upon returning to the house, saw her mother bleeding.
Monaghan had then chased the child down the road and she had managed to circle back to the house and lock the doors.
The court heard Monaghan had previously been sentenced in relation to an assault that took place while he was placed involuntarily in hospital for treatment. He'd received a fine for that assault and no conviction was recorded.
"Setting a parole release date of today would provide the best outcome for the community," Judge Burnett said.
"He doesn't have a history of violence while in the streets which is in his favour."
He said since his release from custody, Monaghan had been actively involved with mental health services.
Judge Burnett said the role public speaking about mental health, his active engagement in treatment and his attitude towards being a good role model for his daughter showed he had insight in how he can help himself and be of assistance to others in similar positions.
He sentenced Monaghan to an 18-month prison term head sentence, released immediately on parole.
Judge Burnett said he saw no benefit in ordering Monaghan to serve a further three months in prison - which would bring his time served up to one-third of his overall sentence (the usual amount imposed on such sentences) - given that the current regime of treatments he was undertaking was working.
The court heard Monaghan plans to relocate to northern Queensland closer to this daughter.