Bride hits mother-in-law at wedding

IT SHOULD have been one of the happiest days of her life.

Instead, a Rockhampton bride's actions on her wedding day led to her being handed a nine-month parole sentence.

The woman, who cannot be identified, pleaded guilty in the Rockhampton District Court this week to charges of assault occasioning bodily harm after punching her mother-in-law at her own wedding reception.

The court heard that the 28-year-old-woman had a number of violent offences on her criminal record already, including assaults against her own children, who are now in foster care.

In October, 2009, the woman was celebrating her wedding at a Rockhampton venue when her mother-in-law approached her to tell her she was about to return her children to their foster carer.

The woman then grabbed her mother-in-law, who was holding her young child at the time, around the neck, lifting her from the ground.

Crown prosecutor Josh Phillips told the court she had grabbed her hard enough to make it difficult for her to breathe.

Other guests at the reception helped the mother-in-law free of the bride.

The mother-in-law then began packing her things to leave.

Before she left the bride took another swing, this time punching her in the face, causing her to bleed.

The woman's barrister, Jeff Clarke, told the court her angry outburst had been a result of her suffering from Asperger's syndrome.

The court heard that the woman had suffered from the syndrome for her entire life and would continue to be affected for the rest of her life and that it prevented her from being able to see things from another person's point of view.

Mr Clarke said the woman had been seeing a psychologist and had made a positive effort to rehabilitate.

He said giving her an actual period of imprisonment would be counterproductive for her rehabilitation.

He said her consultations with a psychologist had been a wake-up call that her violent aggressive behaviour could not continue.

Mr Phillips suggested that previous sentences for assaults handed down by magistrates should have served as a wake-up call.

Judge Grant Britton said he accepted that the woman had a diminished moral culpability due to her condition.

He said that a letter from her psychologist suggested that people with Asperger's syndrome could find themselves extremely angry with others because they were unable to put themselves in others' shoes.

He sentenced her to nine months imprisonment with immediate parole.

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