Jailed over machete attack

A father who tried to stop a domestic assault on his daughter ended up in Waikato Hospital after being slashed in the face with a machete by the woman’s partner, Gisborne District Court was told.

The couple’s two-year-old child was caught up in some of the incident.

Sean Patrick Keefe, 25, was jailed for 25 months and given a three strikes warning after pleading guilty to three charges arising out of the domestic incident — wounding with intent to injure, assaulting a female, and threatening language; and two unrelated ones — drink-driving and threatening behaviour.

The domestic incident happened one evening in December last year, when Keefe was working outside on a vehicle. He demanded his partner get him a cigarette and when she said they did not have any, accused her of hiding them.

The woman asked Keefe to give her their child, who was sitting in a car seat in the vehicle. Keefe refused, verbally abused the woman, then drove off.

He returned about a minute later, saw his partner outside, and chased her inside where he tried to punch her repeatedly but kept missing.

The woman’s father intervened, telling Keefe to go. He did momentarily but came back, re-entering the house through the back door and punching his partner in the face. He was again told to leave and escorted out.

Keefe reversed his vehicle off the property, then parked it in the wrong direction outside the house.

He got a machete from the vehicle’s cargo tray, using it to smash an outside window in the house.

A child was asleep in that room, but it was accepted Keefe might not have known that, Judge Cathcart said.

The woman’s father opened the front door of the house and as he did so, Keefe slashed him with the machete. Keefe also smashed a glass pane in the door. The man stumbled backwards, grabbing a vacuum cleaner pipe to defend himself but Keefe slashed him again, this time causing a gaping facial wound about 10cm long.

Police arrived and found Keefe outside still holding the machete. His partner’s father was flown for treatment at Waikato Hospital.

Judge Cathcart noted Keefe initially tried to explain his actions by claiming self-defence but that had since been negated by his guilty pleas.

Aggravating Keefe’s offending was the use of a potentially lethal weapon and the infliction of a large head wound. It was unprovoked, high-level, gratuitous violence and occurred in a near home invasion situation, Judge Cathcart said.

The unrelated charge of threatening language occurred in November, last year, at a local bar. Keefe got into an altercation with another man, who he threatened to shoot with a gun he claimed was in his vehicle. Bar staff intervened and police were called.

Of the drink-drive offence, Judge Cathcart said Keefe had little criminal history in that area and this charge involved a relatively low reading.

Counsel Heather Vaughn said these were Keefe’s first convictions for physical violence.

He showed prospects of rehabilitation and had made efforts while on electronically-monitored bail, to address his issues with alcohol and other drugs.

He understood imprisonment would be the sentence starting point but hoped it might come within range for home detention, (which the Crown opposed as unsuitable.)

For the lead charge of injuring, Judge Cathcart set a starting point of three years’ imprisonment — the same figure submitted by both Ms Vaughn and Crown counsel Jo Rielly.

For the other offending, there was four months uplift with an adjustment for totality.

The judge allowed a 5 percent (two months) discount for remorse. He noted Keefe’s comment since the incident that his now former partner’s father was “a good man, a good grandfather, and did not deserve what happened”. Keefe was willing to attend restorative justice, but it was declined by both his former partner and her father.

There was four months discount for the time Keefe spent on electronically-monitored bail (eight months, 18 days), and 20 percent of a possible 25 percent discount for his guilty pleas.

The judge allowed another two months discount for Keefe’s personal circumstances, which included his descent into cannabis and methamphetamine use after the death of his mother in 2018. It could explain some of Keefe’s uncharacteristic behaviour in this offending, Judge Cathcart said.

Six months’ disqualification from driving was also imposed and will start when the prison term expires.

A father who tried to stop a domestic assault on his daughter ended up in Waikato Hospital after being slashed in the face with a machete by the woman’s partner, Gisborne District Court was told.

The couple’s two-year-old child was caught up in some of the incident.

Sean Patrick Keefe, 25, was jailed for 25 months and given a three strikes warning after pleading guilty to three charges arising out of the domestic incident — wounding with intent to injure, assaulting a female, and threatening language; and two unrelated ones — drink-driving and threatening behaviour.

The domestic incident happened one evening in December last year, when Keefe was working outside on a vehicle. He demanded his partner get him a cigarette and when she said they did not have any, accused her of hiding them.

The woman asked Keefe to give her their child, who was sitting in a car seat in the vehicle. Keefe refused, verbally abused the woman, then drove off.

He returned about a minute later, saw his partner outside, and chased her inside where he tried to punch her repeatedly but kept missing.

The woman’s father intervened, telling Keefe to go. He did momentarily but came back, re-entering the house through the back door and punching his partner in the face. He was again told to leave and escorted out.

Keefe reversed his vehicle off the property, then parked it in the wrong direction outside the house.

He got a machete from the vehicle’s cargo tray, using it to smash an outside window in the house.

A child was asleep in that room, but it was accepted Keefe might not have known that, Judge Cathcart said.

The woman’s father opened the front door of the house and as he did so, Keefe slashed him with the machete. Keefe also smashed a glass pane in the door. The man stumbled backwards, grabbing a vacuum cleaner pipe to defend himself but Keefe slashed him again, this time causing a gaping facial wound about 10cm long.

Police arrived and found Keefe outside still holding the machete. His partner’s father was flown for treatment at Waikato Hospital.

Judge Cathcart noted Keefe initially tried to explain his actions by claiming self-defence but that had since been negated by his guilty pleas.

Aggravating Keefe’s offending was the use of a potentially lethal weapon and the infliction of a large head wound. It was unprovoked, high-level, gratuitous violence and occurred in a near home invasion situation, Judge Cathcart said.

The unrelated charge of threatening language occurred in November, last year, at a local bar. Keefe got into an altercation with another man, who he threatened to shoot with a gun he claimed was in his vehicle. Bar staff intervened and police were called.

Of the drink-drive offence, Judge Cathcart said Keefe had little criminal history in that area and this charge involved a relatively low reading.

Counsel Heather Vaughn said these were Keefe’s first convictions for physical violence.

He showed prospects of rehabilitation and had made efforts while on electronically-monitored bail, to address his issues with alcohol and other drugs.

He understood imprisonment would be the sentence starting point but hoped it might come within range for home detention, (which the Crown opposed as unsuitable.)

For the lead charge of injuring, Judge Cathcart set a starting point of three years’ imprisonment — the same figure submitted by both Ms Vaughn and Crown counsel Jo Rielly.

For the other offending, there was four months uplift with an adjustment for totality.

The judge allowed a 5 percent (two months) discount for remorse. He noted Keefe’s comment since the incident that his now former partner’s father was “a good man, a good grandfather, and did not deserve what happened”. Keefe was willing to attend restorative justice, but it was declined by both his former partner and her father.

There was four months discount for the time Keefe spent on electronically-monitored bail (eight months, 18 days), and 20 percent of a possible 25 percent discount for his guilty pleas.

The judge allowed another two months discount for Keefe’s personal circumstances, which included his descent into cannabis and methamphetamine use after the death of his mother in 2018. It could explain some of Keefe’s uncharacteristic behaviour in this offending, Judge Cathcart said.

Six months’ disqualification from driving was also imposed and will start when the prison term expires.

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