Violence too much to bear / Bond for shooting boyfriend — (Daily Telegraph)

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Daily Telegraph


19 February 1998

WHEN Joy-Ann Lane confided to her GP that she had endured years of sexual, emotional and physical abuse from her boyfriend, she was prescribed the anti-depressant drug Prozac in the hope it may make her more assertive.

It worked.

Early on Sunday morning September 8, 1996, the 40-year-old public servant realised she had had enough of the beatings, rapes, threats and torrent of verbal abuse.  She made herself a cup of tea, then took a ceramic mortar bowl from the kitchen and whacked the sleeping body of Jeffrey Raymond Keith Stannard over the head.

This only served to wake up the 43-year-old taxation clerk, so in fear of retaliation she got a rifle and shot him in the stomach.  She won an ensuing struggle and then shot him in the back as he ran out the door wearing only a shirt.

Lane said she believed he may have been going to get a gun that he could have hidden in her shed – and even if he didn’t shoot her that day, he would eventually come back and get her. Lane pleaded not guilty in the Queensland Supreme Court to two attempted murder charges and one of assault causing bodily harm.

A nine woman, three man jury convicted her of the assault, but acquitted her of the two more serious charges.  In sentencing Lane yesterday for the assault, Justice Glen Williams said he accepted she had endured years of stress, psychological abuse and physical assault from Stannard, but she should have got help and not taken the law into her own hands.

Justice Williams described it as “disturbing” that Lane declined help from friends, relatives and work colleagues who were aware of the situation.  “The jury’s verdict reflects the accepted view … that the law must be maintained and individuals cannot take the law into their own hands.”

He imposed a two-year $1000 good behaviour bond and recorded a conviction.  Lane’s defence counsel, John Jerrard QC, had asked that no penalty be imposed or conviction recorded, because this was an “extreme case” and a conviction could affect Lane’s employment with the Commonwealth Public Service.

Her job in the tax office and her small one bedroom house were all she had after a difficult marriage which had ended in divorce just before she met Stannard.  She had worked at the tax office since 1984, but it was only in 1991 that she had her first contact with him.

It was over the phone, and she was struck by the “warm, happy, and helpful” voice which greeted her.  Unknown to her at the time, he had served eight years of an 11-year jail sentence for the manslaughter of his wife, who was found strangled in her home 20 years ago.  As she got to know him, he impressed her, she said, as a man who had sympathy with women, a sensitive new age man who provided a shoulder to cry on.

When he did confide the details of his conviction, and maintained his innocence, she believed him because she couldn’t reconcile the violence with his gentle manner.

The relationship developed and during the next year became sexual, but it was only months later that the first cracks appeared.  At first it was derogatory comments about women in general, then her personally, then the first violence, in the form of a headbutt and then increasingly violent rapes and sodomy.    She took the action because “she couldn’t be passive any more”.