'I have to bash that little girl for not listening to me'
A TEENAGER who hacked at his 12-year-old girlfriend with a machete "for not listening to me" has walked from court on a suspended sentence.
The then 16-year-old, who cannot be named, pleaded guilty in the Supreme Court to attacking the girl, with whom he'd been in a relationship for about six months, in October 2018.
The court heard the boy was sniffing aerosols on the Galiwinku oval with the girl who was not intoxicated in the early hours of October 30 when she started to walk home.
As she left, another child "found" a machete and the boy said "give me that machete because I have to bash that little girl for not listening to me".
At that point the boy - now armed with the machete - followed the girl and swung the weapon at her, hitting her in her upper arm.
He then stood over her and continued the assault, using the knife "in a chopping motion" to her face and head.
One of the girl's friends intervened and finally managed to push the boy away but Chief Justice Michael Grant said that was "the only reason you stopped attacking that girl".
The girl was flown to Royal Darwin Hospital for emergency surgery, suffering "severe lacerations" to her skull and arms, broken knuckles and multiple severed tendons in both her hands.
She stayed in hospital for a month and required splints and hand therapy to regain the function of her hands.
Chief Justice Grant said without treatment from specialists at the hospital, the girl could have lost the use of her hands or died.
"What you did has obviously had a terrible impact on the victim, including in ways that we would not necessarily expect," he said.
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"Quite apart from the enormous pain she suffered in the aftermath of the attack as a result of her injuries, she still suffers from pins and needles and stiff and numb hands.
"When she was recovering, she could not feed, bathe or dress herself. Her big sister had to do that for her, which caused them both shame for cultural reasons."
In sentencing, Chief Justice Grant said while the boy had since been diagnosed with an intellectual disability, he still did not accept the boy accepted "how serious this offending was and what an awful impact it had on the girl" or felt any genuine remorse.
"When asked about the offending during the course of a psychiatric assessment, you sought to attribute blame for what happened to your friends urging you to hit the girl," he said.
"While you may have made some advances in rehabilitation and maturation, I do not think that you truly appreciate how serious this offending was and what an awful impact it had on the girl.
"It is noteworthy in that respect that the predictably glowing reports from your throughcare worker do not make any mention of any element of acceptance or responsibility or remorse."
The boy spent four months in jail before being bailed in March last year.
*For 24-hour domestic violence support call the national hotline 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or MensLine on 1800 600 636.
Originally published as Teen who attacked 12-year-old girlfriend with machete walks free