SANTA ANA (Reuters) – Australia is split over whether the new letters in a letter from a woman to her estranged husband are a love letter or a love note.
A court in Melbourne on Thursday heard how the letters were discovered in a bedroom and the woman was ordered to appear in court for sentencing.
Her barrister, Michael Tindall QC, argued that they were “love letters”, as they were written in the third person, and that the letters should not have been opened and read in court.
He said the letters contained a “love letter” and not a “loved one” letter.
“You can’t take that away from it,” he told the court, asking for a sentence of two years’ imprisonment.
The letters were found by a man in a car in the car park of the woman’s Melbourne home, where she had been staying with her husband, who has cerebral palsy.
The woman, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was in the courtroom with her family as the trial continued.
The man was ordered not to contact her, including by phone, the ABC reported.
“The woman is entitled to know what the matter is, what happened, what has happened, and the man’s responsibility to protect her from harm,” Justice Susan Knepper told the man.
The court heard that in a written statement, the woman said she felt “embarrassed” and “fearful” when she received the letter and had never written a letter like it before.
“I have not had the opportunity to see this letter in person and I am deeply concerned that it may cause harm to my partner,” she said.
“When I was in hospital, the man put a large letter of love on my chest and asked me to read it to him, but I didn’t do it because I was scared of what he would think.”
The court was told the woman did not know that the letter was from her estranged partner, but it was her understanding that he was a “loving, kind, caring man”.
Justice Kneppers said the man had been “abandoned” by his wife and had been living alone for the past two years.
“This letter is the most heartbreaking letter I have ever seen, and it is the only letter I know of that contains the words ‘I love you’,” she said, adding the man must serve 10 years of his sentence.
“As a result, I have written a love apology for the woman and for all those who have been affected by this tragic event,” Justice Kneppers said.