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R v Black [2022] ACTSC 4

The offender was sentenced following pleas of guilty to three counts of using a carriage service to menace, harass or cause offence contrary to s 474.17(1) of the Commonwealth Criminal Code.  

Nature and Circumstances: Current offences occurred against a background where the offender has been convicted on two prior occasions for similar conduct against Foster and on one prior occasion for similar conduct against Cooper. All three offences involved a serious and prolonged course of conduct.  

Mental Condition: Offender met the diagnosis for Delusional Disorder (erotomanic subtype). The offender’s delusions initially centred around a romantic relationship with Foster and thereafter a relationship with Cooper. While offender presented with reasonable insight and reported an intention to continue treatment, offender had a previous period of non-compliance with medication. Offender found it embarrassing to discuss delusions when medicated and knows that the delusions were a symptom of illness. If offender experiences relapse with respect to erotomanic delusions and psychotic symptoms, risk of similar reoffending is high. The reduction of moral culpability still has a role to play and the role of general deterrence is reduced. The Advance Consent Direction concerning the depot medication is important on the issue of specific deterrence.  

Remorse: Offender has expressed remorse for offending but remorse must be considered against background where expressions of remorse were made in 2018 and 2020 but the pattern of similar offending has continued to occur. Remorse must be considered in light of the fact that the offender was aware they were mentally unwell at the time of the offences giving rise to the 2018 and 2020 sentences and that they were medicated for that illness but made a deliberate choice to be non-compliant with medication, further putting victims at risk.

Offender sentenced to 13 and a half months imprisonment to be served by way of an ICO.    
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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