Ex top cop guilty of domestic violence offences
A decorated former police officer who dragged his terrified wife out of their home and forced her to sleep outside has been found guilty of domestic violence offences, but spared convictions in court.
Mark Anthony Powderly's career as a cop spanned 40 years and his work with the police rescue squad saw him involved in the retrieval of Sydney model Caroline Byrne's body and the co-ordination of Thredbo landslide disaster rescue efforts.
The 69-year-old Dubbo resident continued to serve the community after he retired in 2008, as a member of various volunteering groups and the co-ordinator of road safety programs.
Police charged Powderly with one count of common assault and one count of intimidation after he and his wife had a heated argument while on holidays in October.
The intimidation charge related to comments made during the argument and the assault charge stemmed from a past incident Powderly's wife told police about when she reported him.
According to a statement of agreed facts tendered in court, Powderly and his wife had been arguing about another woman when he slammed his fists on a table and call his wife a "c***" while the couple were holidaying in Tweed Heads in October.
"The relationship is over," Powderly told his wife who was secretly recording the conversation.
"We are over. I'll f****** kill myself in the next six months. There is nothing left."
In court documents, police said Powderly's wife felt intimidated and like the marriage breakdown was her fault so she packed up her belongings and returned to Dubbo alone.
With help from a domestic violence support organisation, Powderly's wife contacted police in Dubbo and provided a statement about his behaviour in Tweed Heads and past incidents she had been traumatised by.
According to court documents, Powderly's wife told police she spent the past 18 years living in fear because of his often alcohol-fuelled attacks on her.
She told police that in 2002 the couple went to Thailand for a holiday and she recalled being pushed out bed by Powderly who was enraged after drinking.
Powderly asked his wife to leave their holiday unit and when she hid in a bathroom, he grabbed her by the feet and dragged her outside before locking her out.
In another traumatic incident Powderly's wife reported to police occurred in 2008, shortly after she had a hip replacement in Sydney, Powderly's wife told him she did not want to travel to Cobar for a police rescue function and he burst into a fit of rage, smashed a pedestal fan into pieces and demanded she accompany him, according to court documents.
In 2009, Powderly's wife recalled another time when he was in a "foul mood" after drinking and demanded she get out of their house.
When his wife refused, Powderly pushed her to the ground, dragged her outside and locked all the doors and windows.
She slept outside all night and did not report the incident because she believed it was her fault and that it would ruin Powderly's standing with police.
In Dubbo Local Court, Powderly pleaded guilty to the assault and intimidation charges.
Representing himself, Powderly told Magistrate Theresa Hamilton he had sought treatment for post traumatic stress disorder, depression and alcohol addiction.
"Currently I'm on alcohol inhibiting medication, I'm also on antidepressants which has certainly made a difference," he said.
"I've got no desire to get back on the alcohol.
"I can't defend myself against what happened because I don't remember a lot of it."
Powderly said he also checked himself into a mental health facility for 15 days and was being treated by a psychologist.
Magistrate Hamilton said it was appropriate not to record a conviction because of Powderly's good record, mental health conditions, remorse and the steps he had taken to rehabilitate himself.
While Powderly was found guilty of assault and intimidation, no conviction was recorded and he was handed a conditional release order for 12 months.