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Christopher Adam Van Veldhuizen given a final chance to mend family violence habits

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Breanna RedheadSouth Western Times
Bunbury Courthouse.
Camera IconBunbury Courthouse. Credit: Carly Laden/South Western Times

A repeat family violence offender who bit his ex-partner’s finger causing it to bleed after she attacked him with a fork has been given a final chance by the court.

Christoper Adam Van Veldhuizen, 43, appeared in Busselton Magistrates Court on Tuesday where he pleaded guilty to an unlawful assault occasioning bodily harm.

The court was told that on the evening of January 3, Van Veldhuizen and his former partner had been out drinking at the Dunsborough Tavern, later returning to the man’s home — a tent pitched in Siesta Park.

Once inside the tent, a verbal altercation broke out soon becoming physical, Van Veldhuizen hitting the woman in the face and telling her to “get out.”

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The victim used a nearby fork to try and stab Van Veldhuizen, who then grabbed the fork from the woman’s hands, biting her finger and breaking the skin, causing it to bleed.

Fleeing the tent, the woman called a friend who later contacted the police.

Early the next morning, Van Veldhuizen was arrested and taken into custody where he has been ever since.

Van Veldhuizen’s lawyer told the court the pair had been in a “dysfunctional” on-off relationship for a number of years, with this particular incident “persuading” his client to permanently end the relationship.

It was submitted the altercation was a result of intoxication on both sides, the initial “trivial” verbal argument resulting from the pair feeling “cramped” in the tent.

Police prosecution described the relationship as “toxic”, citing a “long history” of violence and pushing for a prison term.

Despite noting previous “sporadic” compliance with community based orders, Magistrate Michelle Harries handed down a six-month intensive supervision order as sentence, to allow the man to access support outside of jail.

“It sounds like the relationship has been one that had (been) attracting the attention of the police,” she said. “Clearly matters got out of control and clearly you do need help.

“If you can get help maybe your behaviour can change and certainly the community will be better for that.”

A violence restraining order was also put in place, with prosecution also seeking to have Van Veldhuizen listed as a serial family violence offender.

If you or someone you know has been affected by domestic violence please contact 1800 737 732.

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