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Hastings man who assaulted, throttled partner six times in one month fails in appeal effort

Author
Open Justice,
Publish Date
Thu, 26 May 2022, 8:28pm
Jack Blance's High Court appeal on his sentence showed he was lucky not to have been given a longer jail term for his violence against a woman. Photo / File
Jack Blance's High Court appeal on his sentence showed he was lucky not to have been given a longer jail term for his violence against a woman. Photo / File

Hastings man who assaulted, throttled partner six times in one month fails in appeal effort

Author
Open Justice,
Publish Date
Thu, 26 May 2022, 8:28pm

A Hastings man who attacked his partner six times in a month – throttling her one time to the point she lost consciousness – has lost his bid to appeal against his jail term. 

Jack Lyall Blance was also on parole for previous violence offending when he either assaulted or throttled the victim, once in front of her children, and another time to the point that she urinated on herself. 

In February this year, Blance was jailed for three years and nine months on two representative charges of strangulation and assault on a person in a family relationship. 

The 39-year-old and the victim had known each other for 10 years but formed a relationship over a one-month period in May last year. 

In the first incident, Blance throttled and punched the complainant after accusing her of contacting another man on Facebook. 

In the second incident he accused the victim of stealing from him, throwing her onto the floor and throttling her. 

The third time the pair argued before Blance repeatedly punched her body, made her lie down on her bed and then stood on her neck. 

He then injected himself with methamphetamine before demanding the complainant remove her hoodie and then injecting her with a substance against her will. Blance denied injecting her with anything. 

The next time, Blance threw her against a wall in the shed while in the presence of her young daughters who witnessed what happened. 

The fifth incident occurred after one of Blance's associates offered the complainant a 
cigarette. 

Blance became jealous and punched her in the face, sat on her, and verbally abused her. Later he tipped a can of bourbon over her and punched her several more times. 

She was then attacked after refusing to give him her car keys. 

She was sitting on the couch and Blance straddled her, grabbed her neck with both hands and began throttling her. 

Blance's counsel Ben Frendin submitted the end sentence was manifestly excessive due to the uplifts being too high and because the judge did not take into account the totality principle. 

The sentencing judge added six months on to her starting point of 4 1/2 years due to his offending while on parole and history of serious domestic violence offending. 

She then allowed a full 25 per cent discount for his guilty plea and a further 15 per cent for his methamphetamine addiction and issues uncovered in a Section 27 cultural report. 

Frendin accepted the starting point was within the available range to the sentencing judge but submitted the uplift was too high. 

Crown prosecutor Michael Blaschke opposed the appeal and said the starting point was not only within the available range but "could well have been higher". 

He said given Blance's history, the uplift was appropriate especially as the offending occurred while on parole. 

In making his assessment, Justice Peter Churchman noted an earlier case where the High Court judge said strangling that caused "unconsciousness or urinary or faecal incontinence is particularly serious as both phenomena are strong indicators of near-fatal strangulation". 

In Blance's case, the victim was throttled to the point of incontinence the second time and the sixth incident involved throttling to the point where she lost consciousness. 

Justice Churchman said the length of time over which these incidents were repeated was indicative of a sustained attempt by the appellant to exert control over and coerce the victim. 

"I accept that a starting point of at least three years' imprisonment could have 
been justified for any one of the second, third, and sixth incidents." 

He said the six-month uplift recognised Blance's "extensive history of family violence offending against previous partners". 

Blance was given discounts totalling 40 per cent which was "the absolute maximum available to [him]". 

"Mr Blaschke's submission that the end sentence could have been sterner in some respects, has weight," Justice Churchman said. 

"The judge did not err, nor do I think the end sentence is manifestly excessive when considering the seriousness of the offending or the appellant's culpability. 

"The end sentence of three years nine months' imprisonment was within range and could have been higher." 

- by Belinda Feek, Open Justice