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DPP v Koohi [2023] VCC 319

The offender was sentenced following a plea of guilty to 1 count of using a carriage service to harass contrary to s 474.17 of the Commonwealth Criminal Code. Offender also sentenced for state assault and bail offences.

Nature and Circumstances: Offender phoned their ex-partner and left harassing voicemail messages, and used a fake Instagram account to threaten them. That offending occurred in the context of an intimate relationship marks its seriousness. Offender’s relationship with the victim was characterised by controlling, violent and threatening behaviour, in the context of mutual alcohol and drug abuse. Although offender is not to be doubly punished for separate offending, it is relevant that the voicemail threats were made in the context of earlier physical abuse. The victim undoubtedly feared offender would make good these threats by attending at their home.

Age: Offender was 20–21 years old at the time of the offending. As such, they fall to be sentenced as a ‘youthful offender’. Given the nature of offending, the other relevant sentencing considerations such as general and specific deterrence and denunciation of the conduct, must still carry weight in the sentence. However, offender is still a relatively youthful person. Offender has one minor criminal prior and a more significant subsequent matter. Despite the seriousness of the offending, rehabilitation remains a prominent sentencing consideration.

Rehabilitation: Over 18 months have elapsed since offender was first charged with this offending. During this period, despite these charges hanging over their head, offender retained family support, maintained abstinence from drug use, and worked towards establishing their own business, whilst simultaneously engaged in study. They have completed all the program requirements of a community correction order. Offender however did not complete the unpaid work component of the community correction order imposed in August 2021. This is explained, at least in part, by the fact that there was a delay associated with COVID-19 and offender’s back injury. Offender has otherwise complied with all conditions and significantly, has not offended over the past 18 months. The fact offender successfully established their own business, whilst motivated to further their own education, are all positive indications of their future prospects. Most significantly, offender remains abstinent from illicit drug use which, combined with ongoing family support and stability, leads to the assessment that offender has very good prospects of rehabilitation into the future.

Offender sentenced to a two-year community correction order to undertake 50 hours unpaid community work and to undertake a Men’s Behavioural Change Program.
The CSD acknowledges Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as First Australians and recognises their culture, history, diversity and their deep connection to the land. We acknowledge that we are on the land of the traditional owners and pay respects to Elders past and present.

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