Breanna Robinson: Texted to death
Photo Courtesy of: GoldCoastBulletin
WE ALL AGREE with the magistrate. Dan Shearin is a ‘pig’ and a ‘coward’. To use the colourful colloquialism, the sort of ‘man’ you wouldn’t even piss on if his teeth were on fire.
A bully, a control freak, who texted his girlfriend to death. The mentally-battered 21-year-old, who was legally blind, was so traumatised by the constant barrage of criticism that Breeanna Robinson committed suicide.
She jumped to her death from the 20th
floor of their apartment building in Southport, Queensland. The couple had been living together for only 38 days.
Nobody disputes that Shearin behaved abominably. But did he deserve to go to jail?
Magistrate John Costanzo thought so. And jailed the bully for six months (with a minimum of two) for ‘ using a carriage service to menace and harass’ his victim. Jailed for textual assault.
I think the sentence was wrong. I’m sure it will be overturned on appeal. And I believe it sets a dangerous precedent.
Obviously, I feel for the friends and family of the former cheerleader for the Gold Coast Titans who packed the court and shed tears (some of joy) at the sight of the swaggering bully boy being led away to the cells.
But I don’t support the sentence. And, in anticipation of a Twitter wave of criticism – which started when I made some comments on PMLive on SKY last night – let me point out that I have done my share of stories highlighting domestic violence , and shamefully inadequate sentences, in the past.
dating site stalkers
For Sunday Night, I have physically faced down such venal dating site stalkers and cowardly woman-bashers as former soldier Darran Porch and ‘roid-raging gym junkie Nicholas Pribil.
But I am trying to look at this precedent-setting sentence calmly and logically. Which is hard when the wasted, lonely, hounded death of a lovely young woman is involved.
As Magistrate Costanzo pointed out: Shearin’s attacks were ‘a continuous and therefore deliberate campaign. If you were having difficulties in your relationship, then your actions are those of a coward. The greatest coward can hurt the most ferociously. I can’t think of a way for a man to be more of a pig towards a woman’.
Well, I can. Talk to the physically battered victims of dirtbags like Porch and Pribil.
That’s the problem I have here with this sentence. Shearin didn’t threaten Breeanna with physical violence. He did not urge her to harm herself. He did not suggest she kill herself.
He belittled her and undermined what little confidence she had. He scoffed about ‘where is your fucking brain today’, called her ‘stupid’ and ‘dumb’ and ‘a fucking moron’.
Told her she should move out and threatened to find another girlfriend who would give him more sex.
a jailable offence?
Sadly, some of the text messages could have been punched in anger into a thousand phones:
‘You are moving into the spare room tonight and I’m looking for someone else to treat me better’.
Is that now a jailable offence? Is that how far our legal system plans to venture into our domestic loves and lives?
I wish Breeanna had had the strength to tell the miserable jerk to fuck off. Had had the sense to seek, and listen to, the advice of friends.
I haven’t enjoyed writing this and I mean no disrespect to the memory of a life cut cruelly short by her own hand.
But by imposing a jail sentence Magistrate Costanzo moved into dangerous territory.