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Court of Appeal re-sentences offender in DPP v Natoli

15 March 2016

The Court of Appeal today re-sentenced Mark Natoli in DPP v Natoli [2016] VSCA 35, accepting the Director of Public Prosecutions submissions that the original sentences imposed were manifestly inadequate.

On 2 November 2014, the respondent subjected his long term domestic partner to a terrifying ordeal. On 7 October 2015, he pleaded guilty to offences of using a listening device, common law assault, false imprisonment, making a threat to kill, intentionally damaging property, being a prohibited person in possession of a firearm, and possession of cartridge ammunition without a licence or permit. On 13 November 2015, he was sentenced by a judge in the County Court to a total effective sentence of five months’ imprisonment combined with a Community Correction Order of 18 months.

The Director of Public Prosecutions appealed these sentences on the basis that they were manifestly inadequate. 

The threat to kill was explicit and was accompanied by furious abuse and violence after the respondent had pulled out a firearm and told the victim that it was loaded. The false imprisonment was protracted and was accompanied by threats and violence. The common law assault encompassed numerous acts of violence including brandishing a firearm, squeezing the victim’s throat and grabbing her jaw and face, placing a pillow over her face on repeated occasions, and placing his hand over her mouth and nose threatening suffocation. There were no significant physical injuries suffered by the victim. Her victim impact statement described significant emotional impacts.

The respondent had had a very difficult childhood and had been exposed to significant trauma. He had been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder.

The respondent had an extensive criminal history involving violence. He was on parole for violent offences when the assault upon his domestic partner and the other offences were committed. He had already served 12 months in prison as a result of the cancellation of his parole before he was sentenced.

The Court of Appeal accepted the Director of Public Prosecutions submissions that the sentences imposed had been manifestly inadequate. The respondent was re-sentenced to a total effective term of imprisonment of three years and six months with a non-parole period of two years and three months.

Read the full judgment on Austlii (External Link)

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