Dad MICHAEL LUKE has been sentenced to 12 months in prison after he pleaded guilty to kicking mom and their 5-month-old daughter in the face. In desperation, Mom actually tried to hand the baby to her attacker, hoping he wouldn't kick the baby anymore and thus save her life. The judge sounds like a very solid advocate for justice. Wish we had more like him.
Dad who kicked baby jailed
Mike Dinsdale 8th September 2009
Society has had enough of women and children being killed by domestic violence and repeat offenders will go to prison, a judge warned a Whangarei father who kicked his partner and 5-month-old baby.
Judge Duncan Harvey sent Michael Luke to prison for 12 months after he pleaded guilty to one charge of assault with intent to injure and one of assault on a child.
According to police, Luke was intoxicated at his home on July 9 when an argument broke out with his partner. Luke had chased the woman outside, grabbed her by the chin and demanded she return inside. The woman, who had been holding the couple's 5-month-old daughter, had refused and Luke had pushed her to the ground, kicked her in the face several times and forced her head to the ground by pressing his foot on her head.
Luke had kicked the baby in the head during the attack and, fearing for her life, the woman had given the child to Luke to try to stop the attack.
The woman had received bruising to her forehead and bite marks to both arms.
Luke had previous convictions for assaulting a woman and three for driving with excess alcohol, as well as convictions for burglary and dishonesty.
The judge said Luke was extremely lucky as a kick to the head of a baby could have been fatal. He said Luke's lawyer had asked for sentencing to be deferred so options of community and home detention could be looked at but those sentences would not be enough to mark the gravity of the offences.
"The community has had enough of domestic violence. The community has had enough of children dying as a result of this type of behaviour. The community has had enough of women dying because of this type of behaviour," the judge said. "A very strong message needs to be sent.
"People who behave in this way, particularly when they have had a chance in the past, can expect nothing less than a full term of imprisonment."
Judge Harvey said he was prepared to accept that the kick to the baby's head might not have been deliberate but the fact remained the kick was aimed at Luke's partner and hit the baby.