Don’t Want Domestic Assault Charges To Hinder Your Career And Travel Prospects? How About Not Assaulting Your Partner In The First Place!
Posted by Clem Bastow on October 31, 2008
Fashion designer and sometime reality TV personality Wayne Cooper was charged with common assault, assault occasioning actual bodily harm and stalking and intimidating his partner Sarah Marsh in June, and has today been found guilty of common assault (he had earlier pleaded not guilty, but changed his plea to guilty when the other charges were dropped).
It’s always shocking and disappointing when someone who is so frequently in the public eye acts in this way, but what struck me was this kicker at the end of the article:
“We accept … that there was a hostile intent in the end and there was an assault,” [Cooper's barrister, Ian] McClintock said.
He asked the court not to record a conviction against his client as it may hinder his travel to the United States as required by his fashion business.
That reminded me acutely of the similar denouement to the Brooke Satchwell/Matthew Newton domestic assault case, in which Newton’s assault conviction was overturned and not recorded, ostensibly because he and the defense counsel argued it was a one off, but also because it would be injurious to his career. As Acting Judge Joseph Moore said, when clearing Newton:
“If a conviction is recorded, it will continue to have a lifelong effect not only for his reputation in Australia, but also his chances overseas.
“He has suffered severe shame personally, and he feels remorse for the attention he has brought on his family and friends.”
How about the “lifelong effect” having been assaulted by the man she loved will have on his former partner?
What on earth do these decisions say to the woman involved? “Oh, yeah, we see your husband/boyfriend/partner beat you, but he’s got a career to look after, you know? Chin up”. There are enough shamefully short sentences, pointless good-behaviour bonds and, in many cases, no convictions at all when it comes to domestic violence and partner assault and rape, adding this pathetic celebrity escape clause is an insult to survivors and victims of domestic violence.
If these notable men don’t want assault convictions hampering their career travel options, why don’t they consider, you know, not assaulting their partners? I know it’s a pretty revolutionary idea, but maybe, just maybe, it’ll catch on.