Man jailed for assaulting partner, punching puppy
A South Grafton man will spend at least eight months behind bars after he was sentenced for a violent assault on his partner and a vicious attack on a nine-week old puppy.
Jeremy Hockey faced Grafton Local Court on Tuesday where he was convicted after pleading guilty to assaulting police in execution of duty occasioning actual bodily harm, committing an act of cruelty against an animal, larceny, contravening a restriction of an apprehended violence order, common assault and intimidate to intend a fear of physical harm.
The court was told that on September 11, 2020 the 43-year-old had got into an argument with another person while drinking at the Great Northern Hotel, South Grafton. Police were contacted, however Hockey left the hotel and was seen by witnesses walking away with a nine-week old puppy in a trolley.
Hockey was shirtless and swearing at people, and the court was told that after walking a few blocks witnesses saw Hockey yelling and spitting at the puppy.
Officers from Coffs/Clarence Police District found Hockey on Vere St and as they approached saw him pick the puppy up out of the trolley, throw it to the ground before putting it back in the trolley and began to choke and punch it.
The court was told when police arrived they immediately took the puppy out of the trolley to prevent further harm to come to the animal. According to court documents Hockey began to puff his chest out and yell at police "you're not taking my dog".
Officers attempted to arrest Hockey, who violently wrestled with the police and struck out at them multiple times before OC spray was deployed and he was handcuffed. While under arrest the court heard he continued to abuse police, telling the custody manager at Grafton Police Station "I'm going to s--- down your throat and eat your lungs".
The court heard the puppy was not seriously injured and was treated by a vet.
A few months later on November 14, 2020 Hockey was busted on CCTV footage stealing an electric guitar from a pawnbrokers store in Ballina by attempting to conceal the item while walking out with a surfboard he had purchased earlier in the day.
The following month on December 1 at about 2.30pm Hockey was with his partner at JJ Lawrence Field in South Grafton, and, despite an apprehended violence order being in place to protect the victim, made a number of threats against her.
The court heard Hockey forced the woman into a toilet cubicle, and after he locked the door he lifted her up by her neck and held her against a wall, yelling abuse and threats.
Children who were playing a cricket match heard the shouting and told a witness, who then contacted police. On arrival officers knocked on the door and ordered it unlocked. When Hockey unlocked the door they recognised him and his partner, and the court heard Hockey managed to escape from the police and flee the field. The court heard his escape was short lived, and he was later arrested the same day at a property on Armidale Rd.
Magistrate Kathy Crittenden said Hockey's actions were "serious offences of violence" and that the harm done to all victims needed to be acknowledged.
"All offences against police are serious offences, and police do an extraordinarily difficult job in service of our community on a daily basis," she said.
"The actions of the accused disclose gratuitous cruelty towards a defenceless puppy, and clearly there's need for a message of general deterrence."
Describing Hockey's assault on his partner as "terrifying", Ms Crittenden said there was no alternative punishment other than full-time jail.
"The assault occurred in a public park toilet block and the yelling could be heard by witnesses," she said.
"Throughout the ordeal the victim would have been in fear of her life and the contravention of an AVO involved an act of violence against the victim. The harm done to the victim and a need for the court to send a strong message to the community that domestic violence is unacceptable are important sentencing considerations."
Hockey was handed a 16 month jail term, with a non-parole period of eight months. With time served he will be eligible for release on July 31, 2021. Final orders were made for a five-year AVO to protect the victim.
Originally published as Man jailed for assaulting partner, punching puppy