An Albion Park woman will spend Christmas behind bars after admitting to breaching an apprehended domestic violence order in place to protect her ex-partner.
Bree Brownlie faced Wollongong Local Court on Monday - her 29th birthday - and pleaded guilty to two counts of contravening an apprehended violence order (AVO).
A set of agreed facts tendered to the court said an off-duty police officer saw Brownlie in the company of her ex-partner at Albion Park Woolworths in late September, which was confirmed by CCTV footage from the supermarket.
The conditions of the AVO prohibited Brownlie from approaching or contacting her former partner.
On Friday, October 6 police attended an Albion Park address to arrest Brownlie for this breach and knocked multiple times but no one answered, even as they saw a dog being let out of a rear door of the home.
Officers entered the home through an unlocked window and arrested Brownlie, who was at the address in contravention of the AVO.
The court document said there was a lengthy history of domestic violence between Brownlie and her ex-partner, who had both been victims and defendants.
Defence lawyer Olivia Rinaldi told the court on Monday that the breaches of the AVO fell towards the lower end of seriousness, involving no violence or threats.
Ms Rinaldi said the contact at Woolworths was mutual, and the protected person was not at the home when Brownlie was arrested.
Brownlie lost her home in a fire in August 2022, she said, and she had since been leaning on her former partner for support.
Ms Rinaldi said it was not a situation where the victim wanted no contact with Brownlie.
But police prosecutor Sergeant Dane Corran said it was "all too common" in situations of domestic violence to find a victim was willing, sometimes out of fear.
Magistrate Gabriel Fleming noted Brownlie's last breach of an AVO, against the same victim, was in June this year.
Ms Fleming said there was "no alternative" but a period of imprisonment, and Brownlie's "continual breaches" of the AVO meant it was not in the best interests of the community for her to serve the sentence out of custody.
She sentenced Brownlie to seven months' imprisonment, including a discount of 25 per cent of her guilty plea.
Ms Fleming said she would impose a relatively short non-parole period, recognising that it would be difficult given it was Brownlie's first time in custody.
Brownlie will become eligible for release in early January.
In contravening the AVO Brownlie also breached earlier court orders, but no action was taken on these.
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.