A HORSHAM man who hit his wife while she was holding their young child has avoided jail.

Peter Oxley, 41, pleaded guilty in Horsham Magistrate’s Court on Wednesday to unlawful assault, contravention of an intervention order, unlicensed driving and two counts of drink-driving.

Oxley had had a blood-alcohol reading almost five times the legal limit.

Magistrate Ian von Einem sentenced Oxley to a six-month community corrections order on Friday, with conviction, after warning him he could have gone to jail.

Oxley must do unpaid community work and undergo treatment and rehabilitation for alcohol and anger management issues.

Mr von Einem also disqualified Oxley from obtaining a driver’s licence for four years.

He said the order could have been for 12 months, but for the fact Oxley wanted to move to New Zealand to help his wife with their children.

“I took a lenient view; the community corrections order was an alternative to jail,” Mr von Einem said.

“Do not treat the order as something you can manipulate.

“Assaults on women are serious.”

Police prosecutor Senior Constable Matthew Haughton told the court on Wednesday that Oxley’s licence had been cancelled in March 2002 and it had not been restored.

Police officers found Oxley in the driver’s seat of a car with keys in the ignition, in Latus Drive, Horsham, on March 9 this year.

Oxley’s eyes were bloodshot, his speech was slurred and there was a puddle of urine on the floor outside his car, as well as urine stains on the groin area of his pants.

He told police he had had vodka.

Police found Oxley had a blood-alcohol reading of 0.234.

Oxley returned home on March 10 this year after he had consumed a large amount of alcohol.

He verbally abused and pushed his wife, who was holding their 18-month-old son, then he punched her, causing her pain.

Oxley admitted the assault breached his intervention order and told police his father had died in January.

He said he ‘just snapped’ and said he wanted his wife to get out of his room.

Victoria Legal Aid solicitor Rita Sparham said her client’s drink-driving occurred the night before the assault and he was still very intoxicated.

She said Oxley was estranged from his wife but had been living with her to care for their children.

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