Makeshift dwelling at Ninga Mia
Shane Shaun Bates 32, kicked his partner to death for drinking his wine. It's another tragic situation that happened in a remote Aboriginal community, Ninga Mia, near Kalgoorlie, where people can drink themselves into oblivion without any outside interference.
But what is even more tragic is that the brute who killed her only got six years in prison and it's not called murder, but manslaughter. That's the going price for an Aboriginal woman's life these days, you can kick her to death but you'll only get six years and with parole, probably only serve four.
Bates was arrested earlier in the day for drunk driving and police dropped him off near the community at 11.30pm. When he arrived, he found his partner drinking his wine with another man around a campfire. He was furious and told the woman to come home and dragged her by the hair towards the camp. He then repeatedly kicked her in the head and stomach and when she was lying on the ground, he stomped on her neck, causing a fracture. Although he could remember hearing her groaning in pain, he left her there by the roadside and went home.
When he woke next morning, he went back and covered her with a blanket and called for help. An ambulance arrived at 6.45 am but it was too late, she was later pronounced dead. When police arrived, Bates said "I done it, I did it last night, I'm going to jail because she's dead."
A post-mortem found the woman died of serious head and internal injuries including a brain haemorrage, lacerations to the liver and a bruised pancreas.
In sentencing, Justice Eric Heenan said "The reason for the assault upon her was extremely trivial and no matter what background a person may come from, the community does not and cannot tolerate drunken violence again women."
Bates will be eligible for parole in less than three years, after already spending more than a year in jail.
The wheel turns slowly, but some things remain the same.