New Zealand Police v Riordan [2018] NZDC 9510

Published 05 February 2019

Harmful digital communication — serious offending — social media —Harmful Digital Communications Act 2015. The defendant appeared for sentencing following a late guilty plea on a charge of causing harm by posting a digital communication. The offending related to two postings, described by the Judge as sinister in nature, which had been made by the defendant on his social media page. The comments posted implied that the defendant wanted the victim dead and that she would be lying dead after being run over on the road. These threatening posts caused the victim considerable ongoing stress and fear. An initial pre-sentence report recommended a sentence of community service based on information given to the probation officer by the defendant. However, it became apparent from information in the victim impact statement that the information was untrue and probably deliberately misleading. The court considered the options of community work and supervision; the revised sentencing recommendations from the probation officer after reading the impact statement and reinterviewing the defendant. The court considered that a sentence of intensive supervision, with the ability to undertake rehabilitative intervention would be appropriate in the circumstances. The court noted the defendant's offer to pay reparation to the victim for the emotional harm caused, the seriousness of the offending and the harm caused, that he had no prior convictions for violence within a significant history of offending and that he had pleaded guilty, albeit at a late stage. A sentence of 18 months' intensive supervision with special conditions was imposed, with the sentence to be judicially monitored. A fine of $2000 was ordered plus Court costs of $130. Additionally reparation of $2000 was ordered to be paid immediately to the victim for emotional harm. Judgment Date: 9 May 2018 .