Victim of detainee wants her side of the story told

11:02 am on 3 September 2018

An Australian woman who was violently assaulted by her New Zealand partner is glad he's been detained and says not everyone who ends up in a detention centre deserves a second chance.

Many of the New Zealanders swept up in the crackdown have been detained at Villawood detention centre near Sydney

Jayde Hallett's partner Lorenzo Sua spent time in prison, before being detained in Sydney's Villawood Detention Centre (pictured) in September last year and then eventually moved to another centre in Perth. Photo: AFP

In January this year RNZ spoke to Lorenzo Sua. He was detained in Sydney's Villawood Detention Centre.

He told RNZ that one mistake had destroyed his family life. His three children, parents and extended family live in Australia and he said he faced deportation for actual bodily harm, which he said was his first offence.

He said the situation was crushing for his children.

"For them it's pretty harsh, it's a severe punishment," he said. "I wouldn't wish this upon my worst enemy. It's the ugliest feeling. I feel worthless, I feel hopeless. Even though I keep saying that the punishment is severe I wouldn't be in this situation if I hadn't done what I done."

But the victim of that mistake has her own story to tell.

Australian Jayde Hallett is the mother of Sua's third child, who turns three in November.

Their boy was born prematurely at 29 weeks after Sua beat her severely.

It was not the first assault and he was already on an Apprehended Violence order, or AVO, which he had breached a number of times.

"The most significant of the breaches would have been the night that he punched me repeatedly in the stomach."

Ms Hallett said this happened outside of Sua's workplace at an industrial park, and he threw her out of the car and left her there.

Despite that Sua was not arrested because Ms Hallett did not co-operate with the police saying she still wanted him to be in their child's life.

She said their son has been in foster care since he was born because Australia's child protection agency regard Sua as a safety risk and believes she has not cut ties with him.

It was a suspicious case manager overseeing her son's care that eventually led to Sua being arrested, losing his visa and being sent to a detention centre.

The manager visited Ms Hallett, found her covered in bruises and told the police.

That attack led to a conviction and a prison sentence.

"The hardest thing was the triple-zero call that got played in court, where you could hear that I was hiding in the neighbour's front yard crying and whispering on the phone, waiting for police to get there because Mr Sua was pacing the street looking for me," she said.

Ms Hallett said Sua was found guilty of breaches of the AVO, common assault, and actual bodily harm, he served time in prison before being moved to Villawood Detention Centre in September last year and then eventually to another centre in Perth.

She said even while he was at Villawood he was sending her abusive messages.

Ms Hallett said she is speaking out because she believes he portrayed himself as a victim but he's shown no remorse and blames her for the way he behaved.

She wants people to understand the reality behind some of the detainees' stories.

"There are families out there that do deserve the second chance, but then there are ones like him that he's the kind of person that ruins it for everybody."

Ms Hallett said she was convinced that if Sua was granted a visa back to Australia that he would continue to be abusive towards her.

She said she had now completely blocked Sua from her life.

RNZ understands Sua is still in detention in Western Australia.

Official figures show 169 men, women and children from New Zealand are currently detained in Australian facilities.

Where to get help:

Women's Refuge: (0800 733 843)

It's Not OK (0800 456 450)

Shine: 0508 744 633

Victim Support: 0800 650 654

HELP Call 24/7 (Auckland): 09 623 1700, (Wellington): be 04 801 6655 - 0

If it is an emergency and you feel like you or someone else is at risk, call 111.