A 70-year-old father of six should not go to jail after he attempted to kill his methamphetamine-addicted son by repeatedly striking his head with a hammer, a Perth court has heard.
Ronald James McDonald immediately called authorities after he attacked his 23-year-old son as he slept on the sofa at his Dianella home on the morning of August 15 last year.
The Supreme Court of WA heard on Tuesday that McDonald was on good terms with his estranged wife, who lived with the victim, and had been trying to help her with their son's ongoing drug dependence.
After pacing around outside thinking about what to do, McDonald went inside the house and hit his son on the temple with a claw hammer, then struck him three or four times more.
The son woke up after the first blow but McDonald grabbed his son's jumper to prevent him escaping; however he managed to break free.
He was taken to hospital with a fractured skull while McDonald made immediate admissions to police.
The court heard that rather than enjoying his retirement and grandchildren, McDonald was preoccupied with the meth addictions of several sons and suffered depression.
"We have a man who in his retirement years, rather than deal with the fruits of his labour ... is having to deal with complicated issues," his defence lawyer said during sentencing submissions on Tuesday.
The crimes committed by meth users were commonly seen in court, but this case showed the "other side of the methamphetamine equation", the lawyer said.
McDonald's family, including the victim, were present in court to provide support.
Justice Katrina Banks-Smith was told he had ongoing contact with them but had to see his son, whose drug problem was easing, with a third person as a condition of his bail.
McDonald served 64 days in custody before being released on bail and will return to court on April 27 for sentencing.
Justice Banks-Smith was urged by the defence lawyer to impose a suspended sentence, but the prosecutor said the offence was too serious to deserve anything less than immediate imprisonment.
The prosecutor also said it was lucky the victim wasn't killed.
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