A senior Queensland health executive will remain in custody for a third night after police laid an additional strangulation charge against him.
Sunshine Coast Hospital and Health Service executive director of medical services Piotr Swierkowski, who has been stood down on full pay, has been charged with strangulation and suffocation in relation to two alleged domestic violence incidents.
His bail application hearing resumed in the Maroochydore Magistrates Court on Wednesday, after it was adjourned on Tuesday.
The court heard on Monday the 43-year-old father of four admitted to police he had placed a dressing gown over his wife’s mouth to muffle the sound of her yelling during an alleged incident earlier that night but denied choking, strangling or suffocating her.
Dr Swierkowski was brought to the dock in a police watch house uniform.
Police prosecutor Senior Sergeant David Bradley told the court the new strangulation charge related to an alleged incident on July 10, but that the charge was laid as a result of the alleged suffocation offence that occurred on Monday.
Senior Sergeant Bradley said police would continue to object to bail.
“The case will continue to get stronger,” he said.
The court heard Dr Swierkowski’s wife had photos of the injuries allegedly caused on July 10.
Senior Sergeant David Bradley read out part of a statement from the complainant.
“He loses control and hurts me. It’s gotten a lot worse in the past year,” his wife said in the statement.
Senior Sergeant Bradley then read out a statement from Dr Swierkowski, in which the defendant said he had “stuffed up”.
“We’ve had problems for a while,” he said in the statement.
“I’ve sent her three sorry texts. It’s happened before, but not to this extent.”
Dr Swierkowski remained silent in the dock during the hearing, either looking down or straight ahead, but not directly at the public gallery.
He was represented by lawyer Anna Smith, who told the court her client had no criminal history, an impeccable work history and an otherwise good personal history.
“In terms of the strangulation charge that was laid today, there was no prior police complaint,” she said.
The court heard the October 8 suffocation charge related to an alleged domestic violence incident at the family’s Buderim house.
Senior Sergeant Bradley said the complainant indicated her intention to leave the house before rejecting Dr Swierkowski’s unwanted sexual advances.
Dr Swierkowski was stood down as head of Sunshine Coast public medical services. (ABC News: Jonathan Hair)
He alleged Dr Swierkowski grabbed his wife, who had a bag in her hand and was ready to go to her sister’s house.
Senior Sergeant Bradley said Dr Swierkowski covered her face with a dressing gown and caused her to struggle to breath.
He said the alleged incident stopped after 10 seconds.
The court heard his wife sustained injuries and bruising to her face and jaw.
Senior Sergeant Bradley said the injuries were entirely consistent with a report from the wife’s GP.
“The photos are also entirely consistent,” he said.
“We have a protracted, documented history of domestic violence. Two offences in a short time is consistent with increasing violence.
“With domestic violence behaviour like this, where both allegations are brutal, there is simply no order makes it acceptable [to grant bail]. There is nothing in the short term to say he won’t attempt to contact the complainant.”
Prosecution ‘based on hearsay’
Ms Smith said the complainant sustained limited injuries, did not lose consciousness and the alleged offending was only momentary.
She said the prosecution had relied on a police statement from the complainant’s sister, which was hearsay.
“It would be unfair to deny bail on a statement that can’t be used to prove charges,” she said.
“If your honour does oppose bail, there is going to be a significant risk to her and the four children [all under the age of 12] who go to private schools. He is the sole earner, she does not work.
“He has too much to lose if not granted bail … it would be a detriment to other practices and clients.
“There is a real risk that if he’s not granted bail that he will be serving an unjustified period in custody.”
Ms Smith said if her client was released he would stay with his brother in Brisbane.
Dr Swierkowski’s bail application is expected to be decided on Thursday.