A man who assaulted a woman, causing her bodily harm, has had the recording of his conviction set aside – partly because of his Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron membership. Peter Hollis, 74, an RQYS member for 61 years, threw five chairs at Lou Lander, then 55, with two hitting her head and arm, drawing blood, in mid-2016.
He was convicted and fined $5000 last year, with the conviction recorded.
Hollis appealed over the recording of the conviction, claiming the sentencing judge was wrong in not finding it would affect his RQYS and Maroochy Sailing Club memberships. The appeal court said because of the organisations’ importance to Hollis, “in his social sphere’’, it was likely a recorded conviction would “materially adversely impact’’ his social and economic wellbeing.
Justice David Boddice referred to the seriousness of the offence, but also Hollis’s age, and the former solicitor and real estate licensee’s previous unblemished character. He said a significant part of the 74-year-old’s social life revolved around the yachting organisations.
Ms Lander, whom a court was told lived in fear of Hollis after the attack, said she found the comments “galling’’.
Ms Lander, who had previously been in a relationship with Hollis, said she was extremely disappointed by the appeal court decision. “Domestic violence, and imposing adequate deterrent on perpetrators, should be paramount to the courts, not whether or not membership at an exclusive yacht club would ‘materially adversely impact’ on the (perpetrator’s) social wellbeing,” she said.
RQYS general manager Shawn Ket said the squadron’s board was currently considering all relevant material before making a decision regarding Hollis’s future membership. He said Hollis had voluntarily kept away from the squadron while awaiting the appeal decision.