A senior developer at Microsoft has been sentenced to a one-year community corrections order with a requirement that he perform 100 hours of unpaid work after he was found guilty of unlawfully assaulting his son after the 7-year-old refused to stop playing on his Nintendo Switch.
41-year-old Nicholas Lester, the court heard, throttled his son after losing his temper, and was heard to scream “I will stop him breathing”. The attack took place at his West Melbourne home on February 6th last year. The Herald Sun reported the boy’s face went red as he yelled for his mother, who ran to the bedroom upon hearing the commotion.
Lester faced the Melbourne Magistrates’ Court on Monday, where he was sentenced. He pleaded guilty last week to unlawfully assaulting his son.
Magistrate Caroline Boult said:
Your seven-year old son was effectively using his will against yours. In response you placed (him) in a headlock and were heard to be saying words to the effect “I’ll stop you breathing”. Your actions on this occasion raised the alarm of three independent witnesses who felt so concerned about what they had heard that police were called.
Children act up, play up, resist reasonable authority – that’s what children do. That’s what they will continue to do.
As a parent it is your responsibility to never resort to an act of family violence. The buck stops with you. There is never an excuse for family violence and the court expects that you make choices that will keep your family safe no matter how angry you feel or what the circumstances are.
Lester had a history of disagreements with his now-estranged partner over how to handle the parenting of their son. The boy refused to supply an impact statement to the court, but Ms Boult accepted he must have been ‘terrified’ by the attack.
Even so, the magistrate let Lester leave the court without recording a conviction, and said she accepted that he had suffered from depression and had been proactive in taking steps to improve his mental health.
She added that the fact he had no prior convictions was in his favour and that his job with Microsoft was now in the balance.