Two-year prison term downgraded by court

A CORINDI Beach man has walked free from prison four months into a two-year sentence for a domestic violence-related car chase into Grafton, after a successful District Court appeal.

Dwayne Winkler, 30, appeared in Coffs Harbour District Court yesterday to hear the outcome of an appeal against the severity of the original sentence handed down by Magistrate Robyn Denes at Grafton Local Court in October last year.

After a warning from the judge, he walked away from court with a 12-month sentence for a domestic violence-related charge of stalk and intimidate to cause fear of physical or mental harm, to be served by way of an Intensive Corrections Order.

An associated sentence of six months for driving in a dangerous or reckless manner will be served concurrently through the ICO, effectively halving the original sentence for that charge.

Defence barrister Peter Davies said the four months Winkler had already served in prison would not be deducted from the length of the ICO, and noted there were no changes to a three-year driving disqualification and a five-year Apprehended Violence Order.

All charges related to an incident on the morning of October 6, in which Winkler confronted his wife of four years before he initiated a harrowing car chase from Corindi to Grafton.

Mr Davies said he thought yesterday's decision was a fairer punishment considering there was no history of domestic violence between Winkler and his wife, and there were indications he suffered PTSD.

At its most basic level, an Intensive Corrections Order is a fixed sentence served through a combination of 32 hours of monthly community service, complying with strict conditions and supervision.

"The Judge warned him that if he steps out of place it will be reported and he'll go back to jail straight away," Mr Davies said.

"There are strict controls over this ICO; he can't put a foot out of place."


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