Horsham father Peter Dawson, 57, pleads guilty to four family violence charges

A HORSHAM father will undertake a men’s behaviour change program after pleading guilty to assaulting several family members.

Peter Dawson, 57, faced Horsham Magistrates' Court on Wednesday. He pleaded guilty to four family violence assault charges.

Horsham police prosecutor Sergeant Matt Haughton said the victims were the accused’s brother, daughter and former partner.

“On May 13 between 9pm and 10pm, an argument begun at a Horsham residence,” he said.

“Mr Dawson struck his daughter and was confronted by his brother. He then attempted to strike his brother with a closed fist.

“The accused then picked up a garden shovel and swung it at his brother, in the presence of his daughter and former partner.

“Mr Dawson then went inside the house and picked up a kitchen knife, using it to threaten his brother. He turned the knife around and struck the victim with the butt of the weapon.”

Police attended the property about 11pm and arrested Mr Dawson. He was taken to Horsham Police Station for questioning.

“When asked why he struck his daughter, he replied that he ‘never touched her’ and that he ‘never did anything’,” Sergeant Haughton said.

“When questioned about assaulting his brother, he said ‘yes, I did do that’.”

Mr Dawson’s defence lawyer said the incident was “out of character”.

“He has no priors and is pleading guilty,” he said.

“His health is struggling; he has had heart attacks and a stroke, for which he takes medication for. He also attended a men’s behavioural change session last night.”

Mr Dawson’s defence lawyer presented Magistrate Noreen Toohey with character references from a number of individuals.

Ms Toohey said the accused had demonstrated remorse for his actions.

“He pleaded guilty and has no prior offences,” she said.

“It’s clear reading the references that this was out of character for him and that clearly alcohol was a factor in his actions.”

Mr Dawson’s case was adjourned and Ms Toohey asked him to complete a men’s behavioural program.