In the Media – Supreme Court Justice Betty King calls for end to appalling violence in the indigenous community

Supreme Court Justice Betty King calls for end to appalling violence in the indigenous community

By: Shannon Deery

From: Herald Sun

April 26, 2013 12:14PM

SUPREME Court Justice Betty King has called for urgent action to bring an end to a scourge of appalling violence within Australia’s indigenous community. 

The comments came as Justice King sentenced Aboriginal woman Veronica Hudson to a six year jail term for killing her abusive partner Edward Heron on Boxing Day 2011.

Hudson pleaded guilty to one charge of manslaughter.

Justice King said the fatal stabbing ended an “appallingly violent” relationship that saw Hudson, 43, subjected to regular attacks that saw her kicked and punched, her throat cut and her teeth pulled out with pliers.

“You were subject to constant violence by this man and everyone appeared powerless to prevent it including yourself,” Justice King said.

“Your life is a tragedy in the true sense.

“There are so many appalling stories within the indigenous community in Australia and it is hard to know where to start to do something about it.

“What is not to be doubted is that something must be done. We cannot let this continue as a society.

“We must stop this appalling violence being inflicted one upon the other by members of the indigenous community.”

Justice King said while there had been attempts to alleviate the problem, the community had achieved only limited success.

“Your life reads like a horror story and I have no doubt people have tried at different times to help,” she said.

“I certainly don’t know the answer and I doubt if anyone really does at this point.

“But as a community it is horrific that this goes on within our caring, egalitarian society.

“You have had 43 years of abuse – physical and emotional, and we, the rest of the community, appear to have been powerless to stop it.

The comments came a fortnight after Justice King said “White Australia should be hanging its head in shame” after details of Hudson’s life were read to the court.

The court heard Hudson started working as a prostitute in Kings Cross before embarking on a series of abusive relationships.

She met Mr Heron, 56, in 1996 after moving to Alice Springs.

In 2006 Mr Heron was sentenced to five years’ imprisonment for a particularly savage attack on Hudson, during which she was punched, kicked, bitten and stomped on.

Despite the attack the pair resumed a relationship after his release from prison.

The court heard after relocating to Bendigo for a fresh start in 2011 the couple’s relationship failed to improve.

Just five days before Mr Heron’s death police were called to their caravan park amid reports Hudson was armed with a knife.

She was found with cuts to her neck and arm and committed as an involuntary psychiatric patient at the Alexander Bayne Centre in Bendigo, after telling police the wounds were self-inflicted.

She later told hospital staff that Mr Heron had attacked her.

Despite the claims, she was discharged back into his care two days later.

Justice King said it was astounding that that was allowed to happen.

She called for the centre to examine its discharge policy to ensure a similar incident never occurred again.

The court heard Hudson had a significant list of prior convictions for violence but had excellent prospects of rehabilitation.

“It is a rare thing to see people actually utilising the prison system for rehabilitation purposes and I am heartened by your desire to do better for yourself,” Justice King said.

Hudson must serve three years’ imprisonment before becoming eligible for parole.

shannon.deery@news.com.au

One thought on “In the Media – Supreme Court Justice Betty King calls for end to appalling violence in the indigenous community

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