Man walks free after choking woman in shopping centre
A SOUTH Mackay man who choked a woman in a shopping centre during an argument has narrowly avoided being jailed.
The 56-year-old was sentenced to nine months behind bars, but walked free from court after being released on immediate parole.
Kenneth James Mitchell faced Magistrate Damien Dwyer in Mackay Magistrates Court on Tuesday, pleading guilty to assault occasioning bodily harm and contravening a police requirement.
Prosecutor Duncan Erskine said the victim was at Coles at Parkside Plaza with a friend about 1pm on April 6 last year "when the offender stormed down the drink aisle".
Mitchell and the victim began to argue aggressively about a relative known to the victim who had been missing for "several days".
Mr Erskine said the victim attempted to follow her friend down the aisle, but the former mine worker and chef blocked their path.
Without warning, he grabbed the victim by the throat with both hands as they continued arguing and then pushed her away.
Catching her breath, the woman screamed at Mitchell that she was calling police.
Police officers later checked in with the young woman, along with paramedics.
"QAS and police officers observed a number of red marks around the victim's throat.," Mr Erskine said.
Dropping in to catch up with Mitchell at a home, police were told he "knew what they were talking about" and were provided details of Mitchell's search for the girl.
Mr Erskine told the court Mitchell had similar criminal history stretching back to 1991.
Defence solicitor David Strutynski said Mitchell has been under immense pressure as the primary carer of his wife, who had a brain tumour.
Mr Strutynski said Mitchell admitted he "acted out of proportion", but had been responding to statements made by the victim.
But Magistrate Dwyer said there was no proportionate response which invited violence.
He chided Mitchell for a late guilty plea, which came on the day his trial was due to start, inconveniencing witnesses and the court.
"This is not an early or timely plea. This is a plea given at the door of the court," Mr Dwyer said.
"To put it quite simply Mr Mitchell, we're sick and tired of this violence. This violence in the streets, in our homes, in our shopping centres. We've had enough of it."
Magistrate Dwyer suggested Mitchell attend anger management counselling.
The contravening police requirement charge was not detailed.