A Wodonga man who settled in Australia after 12 years in an African refugee camp has escaped conviction for assaulting the mother of his child.
Sylva Mwala went to the woman's Lavington home on May 9 to "confront" her about receiving money. He then hit her face.
"It had significant force to it, the slap," Albury Local Court magistrate Richard Funston said.
"There was blood around the mouth."
IN OTHER NEWS:
Defence lawyer Mitchell Irwin said that despite the assault, Mwala still hoped to repair the relationship he had with the victim, with whom he had a now nine-month-old child.
Mwala, 25, of Kenna Street, pleaded guilty to a single domestic violence-related charge of common assault, after police withdrew a more serious charge of assault occasioning actual bodily harm.
"It is a case that this assault is out-of-character," Mr Irwin said.
He said Mwala was a refugee who had suffered from significant trauma early in his life but was now a leader within his community on the Border, thanks in part to his fluency in English.
Mwala was originally from the Democratic Republic of Congo, from where he fled at the age of eight to a refugee camp in Malawi.
Since resettling in Australia he had become a permanent resident. He was completing a diploma of community services and, Mr Irwin said, hoped to one day work for the United Nations.
The assault took place soon after he went to the woman's unit about 9am.
"The accused," police said, "inspected the victim's mobile phone and noticed transactions in her account."
Through limited English, she said Mwala "beat me" and that he "jumped on me, slapped me".
Police saw dried blood around her mouth.
She did not want him charged, out of concern he would no longer be able to support her and the child.
Mwala was placed on a 12-month conditional release order and must complete the men's behavioural change program.
Our journalists work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the community. This is how you can continue to access our trusted content: