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Would-be church pastor jailed for domestic violence

A YAMBA man with ambitions to become a church pastor may have to do so behind bars after being sentenced to prison over domestic violence and firearms charges.

Eight years ago, Allan Walker punched his then-girlfriend in the face without warning, put his hand around her throat and threw her onto the veranda, causing her to suffer a fractured vertebra in her back.

Yesterday, Walker, 30, was ushered into Grafton Local Court by corrective services for sentencing wearing rosary beads over his prison greens, having pleaded guilty to driving whilst disqualified and a domestic violence charge of assault occasioning bodily harm.

He was also sentenced over a separate firearm charge, in relation to an unregistered, shortened firearm and ammunition found in a car which he was a passenger of during a vehicle stop at Palmers Island in January 2015.

The domestic violence matter dated back to February 2008 but the complainant did not ask for it to be investigated until 2013, according to police facts.

The court heard Walker had been involved in a brawl with a man at the Post Office Hotel in South Grafton on the night of February 14, and after being kicked out by staff at 1.20am went to a house where the complainant, his girlfriend at the time, was.

According to her statement he asked her what she had taken and punched her in the face, dislodging two of her teeth and causing her mouth and nose to bleed.

The victim stated he then put his hand around her throat, raised her to eye level and threw her onto the verandah causing her to lose feeling in her legs.

Medical records showed she suffered an anterior wedge compressing fracture in a vertebra and two loose teeth, but she discharged herself and did not report any wrongdoing, despite police attending the house at the time of the incident in relation to the PO Hotel fight.

The defence said Walker, who was training to be a boxer, did hit the complainant "out of sheer frustration" that she had allegedly been taking drugs but denied pushing her to the ground.

The defence asked for all matters to be dealt with by way of an Instensive Corrections Order as the 30-year-old was hoping to turn his life around and help young indigenous youth, but police prosecutor Sergeant Nick Wiles said due to the seriousness of the assault and the firearm being found in a motor vehicle en route to a destination, anything less than a prison sentence "would be inadequate".

Magistrate Robyn Denes said each of the three offences on their own were serious and constituted a custodial sentence, but took into account the fact that two of the charges were in relation to older matters.

Walker was sentence to 18 months, with a 12 month non-parole period for the domestic violence matter, to be served concurrently with a fixed term of 12 months for the firearm offence and a fixed term of six months on the drive while disqualified charge.

"Some may say I'm being lenient in handing down a concurrent sentence but due to the delay I see it as fit," Ms Denes said.

Topics:  allan walker, church pastor, editors picks, grafton local court, post office hotel, rosary beads

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