In a victory for female domestic violence sufferers everywhere, Sydney woman Jessica Silva has had her conviction for the manslaughter of her abusive ex partner overturned.
Silva, 26, was convicted of manslaughter after she repeatedly stabbed her partner James Polkinghorne, who was high on ice and had attacked Silva and her family, outside her home at Marrickville on Mother’s Day in 2012.
But the NSW Court of Criminal Appeal has this week quashed her conviction and sentence, a decision that her lawyer Adam Houda says “means everything” for Silva.
Justice Clifton Hoeben talked about the ongoing abuse she had suffered at the hands of her ex, who was a suspected drug dealer. The defence detailed a history of physical abuse, violence and death threats in the four year relationship, which Silva had ended two months before his death.
In a phone call days before the incident, Polkinghorne told Silva: “I’ll kill youse all, I’m telling ya. I’m not f***in’ joking.”
Mr Houda said outside court after the sentencing there were “no winners in this tragedy”. Referring to the extreme emotional toll that the harrowing court case had taken on Silva, Mr Houda added: “It’s now time for healing.”
In an emotional piece journalist Michael Usher — who interviewed Silva during his time on 60 Minutes — penned for news.com, he quoted her advice for other women suffering from domestic violence. “You need to let people know what’s going on in your life,” she said. “Walk away, because it’s never going to change. The ‘sorry’s’. It’s all a lie.”