‘Galling’ reason yachtie’s conviction was set aside
A MAN who assaulted a woman, causing her bodily harm, has had the recording of his conviction set aside - partly because of his Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron membership.
Peter Hollis, 74, an RQYS member for 61 years, threw five chairs at Lou Lander, then 55, with two hitting her head and arm, drawing blood, in mid-2016.
He was convicted and fined $5000 last year, with the conviction recorded.
Hollis appealed over the recording of the conviction, claiming the sentencing judge was wrong in not finding it would affect his RQYS and Maroochy Sailing Club memberships.
The appeal court said because of the organisations' importance to Hollis, "in his social sphere'', it was likely a recorded conviction would "materially adversely impact'' his social and economic wellbeing.
Justice David Boddice referred to the seriousness of the offence, but also Hollis's age, and the former solicitor and real estate licensee's previous unblemished character.
He said a significant part of the 74-year-old's social life revolved around the yachting organisations.
Ms Lander, whom a court was told lived in fear of Hollis after the attack, said she found the comments "galling''.
Ms Lander, who had previously been in a relationship with Hollis, said she was extremely disappointed by the appeal court decision.
"Domestic violence, and imposing adequate deterrent on perpetrators, should be paramount to the courts, not whether or not membership at an exclusive yacht club would 'materially adversely impact' on the (perpetrator's) social wellbeing," she said.
"I would have hoped the court, having granted the appeal and not recorded a criminal conviction for Peter Hollis, should have increased the minimal $5000 fine."
After the 2016 assault, while bleeding from her injuries, Ms Lander, then 55, hid in a room and called police.
The court was told the assault by a drunken Hollis left her feeling terrified and humiliated.
When Hollis pleaded guilty last year to assault occasioning bodily harm while armed, Judge Vicki Loury said he should feel ashamed and humiliated by his "utterly disgraceful'' behaviour.
She said although Hollis had previously led a blameless life, he should not have acted violently towards a woman with whom he had had some sort of relationship.
The judge said the conviction should be recorded to reflect the serious nature of the offence against a woman.
"General deterrence is an important consideration to the exercise of my discretion, in light of the insidious nature of domestic violence and the prevalence of it in our community,'' she said.
The appeal court's Justice Boddice said the fact of a conviction was itself a ground for action to be taken by one of the yachting organisations, under its code of conduct.
"While it would be open to that organisation to take action on the basis of (Hollis's) conduct, it would be a relevant factor for that organisation to consider whether a conviction was recorded for the offence,'' he said.
Ms Lander said she hoped RQYS would review its code of conduct when determining whether Hollis should retain his membership.
RQYS general manager Shawn Ket said the squadron's board was currently considering all relevant material before making a decision regarding Hollis's future membership.
He said Hollis had voluntarily kept away from the squadron while awaiting the appeal decision.