R v Green [2019] NZDC 9117

Published 17 September 2021

Sentencing — blackmail — threatening phonecalls — threatening letter — Parole Act 2002, s 15 — R v Takao HC Rotorua CRI-2004-087-2227, 29 April 2005 — R v Matekohi HC Hamilton CRI-2007-019-1089, 9 August 2007 — R v Jefferys HC Rotorua CRI-2009-070-5635, 4 June 2010 — R v Lynch HC Invercargill CRI-2010-025-3014, 14 December 2010 — R v Robinson [2016] NZHC 1247 — Patterson v R [2017] NZCA 66 — Patterson v R [2017] NZSC 107. The defendant appeared for sentence on a charge of blackmail. He had contacted a high-profile businessman in Los Angeles (the victim) and threatened that unless the victim paid him, he would release information to the media showing that the victim had been involved in an extramarital affair. The defendant's threatening messages to the victim continued for a nine-day period, and came in the form of phonecalls, text messages and a letter. Although the allegations of the affair were false, the defendant's conduct caused considerable inconvenience, stress and anxiety to the victim and his family. The Court rejected the defendant's claims that his actions had been manipulated by others, who he claimed were the true driving force behind the offending. The defendant's claims that he was easily led were not credible given that he had almost 200 previous convictions, mostly for dishonesty offences, harassment and stalking. Likewise, the fact that the defendant's allegations of an affair were untrue did not lessen the severity of the offending. The defendant showed no genuine remorse, minimised the offending and blamed others for what he had done. Examining sentences for other blackmail offending, the Court set a start point for sentence of 16 months' imprisonment, uplifted to 22 months for the defendant's previous convictions. A discount for guilty plea brought the final sentence down to 17 months and two weeks' imprisonment. The Court added release conditions, including that the defendant be electronically monitored with GPS technology. Judgment Date: 16 May 2019.