Day after day, bikie Troy Mercanti watched expressionless from the dock as the mother of his two sons was reduced to tears, yelled at and accused of being a liar and an actress - knowing the whole time that he was guilty of beating her.
For four days in front of a District Court jury, 36-year-old Tammy Kingdon was in the firing line of heated accusations from Mercanti's lawyer, Colin Lovitt, that she had concocted the domestic violence allegations and was an exhibitionist and a "drama queen" out for revenge over her former partner's new relationship.
It was only after Mercanti's mother gave courageous and "damning" evidence of witnessing her imperfect but loved son punch Ms Kingdon that the bikie finally ended the charade.
Yesterday, the Finks bikie and one-time Coffin Cheater pleaded guilty to four of five alleged assaults on Ms Kingdon during their 15 years together - the most serious of which left her with a fractured cheekbone. The remaining charge - the most minor - was discontinued.
But for Ms Kingdon it was too late to save her from excruciating and sometimes brutal questioning at the hands of Mercanti's defence team.
Within hours of cross-examination by Mr Lovitt, she could be heard crying on the other end of the video link as photos of her posing scantily clad on a motorcycle as a young woman were displayed in the courtroom.
Testifying from a secret location after being given police protection last year, Ms Kingdon was quizzed about her work as a skimpy barmaid and a stripper and accused of being an exhibitionist.
She was questioned about her sex life, with the defence team suggest- ing her "sexual shenanigans" were to blame for unhappiness towards the end of her relationship with Mercanti.
A top barrister known for an abrasive approach while defending his clients, Mr Lovitt, acting on instructions, cross-examined Ms Kingdon with rare objection from prosecutor Justin Whalley to the grilling given and without much intervention from the court.
Mercanti sat largely blank-faced through the case as the jury heard details of assaults including a "king hit" that knocked out one of Ms Kingdon's teeth and an attack that saw her cowering naked outside her Duncraig home pleading for help.
The defence team claimed Ms Kingdon fabricated the beatings so she could take the couple's sons after deciding to leave the bikie in January last year.
It was only after Mercanti's mother took the stand last Friday that the bikie's fiction crumbled.
Forcing back tears, Sybil Yvonne Mercanti told the court she loved her imperfect son. But she insisted she had seen him punch Ms Kingdon at a family Christmas event in 2006. The blow had knocked out Ms Kingdon's tooth and left the family traumatised.
The version of events echoed previous testimony Mrs Mercanti gave in 2011 when Ms Kingdon fought for a non-custodial penalty for stealing and property laundering.
Mercanti, who was behind bars at the time, had been furious at his mother's evidence then in Ms Kingdon's sentencing plea.
Last week, his mother's testimony apparently changed the course of his own case. The court was told that Mrs Mercanti had initially not been expected to testify at her son's domestic violence trial because she was too unwell.
Within hours of her evidence last Friday, Mercanti's lawyers asked for a break to speak to their "shaken" and seemingly anxious client. Yesterday, he pleaded guilty to all but one charge, with sentencing submissions set for tomorrow.
Facing a maximum seven years jail on each of the four assaults, Mercanti comes to the court with a violent history. He has two convictions from 2008 over assaults on men at a pub and a nightclub.He will now receive a minimal discount to his sentence for the guilty plea given that the trial had run for almost two weeks and Ms Kingdon was not spared giving evidence. Outside court yesterday, defence lawyer Shane Brennan said Mrs Mercanti's "damning" evidence had prompted the bikie to review his position.
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