Grandma attacker loses appeal

GRANDMA attacker Michael Paul Stevens will have to serve 12 months of his jail sentence after his unsuccessful severity appeal before the Lismore District Court this week.

Stevens, 28, was ordered by a court magistrate in October to serve 12 months non-parole of a 16-month sentence. The unemployed man pleaded guilty to assaulting the grandmother at Lismore Shopping Square car park causing her bodily harm, in what Judge James Black said was ‘pedestrian rage’. With time served Stevens will be eligible for release in April.

The woman, aged 59, was an aged care nurse who revealed in her victim impact statement how she had to give up her professional career because the attack had left her so traumatised.

Lawyer for Stevens, Ralph James, said that the sentence should be reduced because although the crime had been recognised as being a ‘mid-range’ offence, the penalty was not one that put it in that category.

Mr James said a psychologist diagnosed his client with a severe personality disorder and interpreted this as someone who would have difficulties in interpersonal relationships, and without intervention there was a probability of someone with that profile developing a mental illness.

He said although he did not submit Stevens had a mental illness, his condition did fit into that family as he was a young man with a sad history of similar offences.

Judge Black said it was an unpleasant offence and the courts were now quite familiar with road rage. But he said this incident could be described as ‘pedestrian rage’ as it happened when the woman tooted her horn at Stevens as she had to drive round him.

Stevens had taken exception to this and struck her vehicle. When she stopped to get out and check for damage he assaulted her.

Judge Black said given the background to the matter he saw nothing wrong with theexisting jail sentence and confirmed the existing orders.

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