Judge unmoved by man's defence after he left 'string of nasty messages' to his ex
Source: https://www.stuff.co.nz/news/113375874/-

2019-06-11 02:04:10

A man who left his ex partner a threatening voicemail messages, and made sounds of "planes crashing or bombs going off" in other voicemails, has been told to stop playing the victim.

Joshua Major, of Blenheim, called his ex partner nine times in four minutes on July 6 last year, leaving a string of "nasty" messages, days before a final protection order was issued.

He blocked his phone number so she wouldn't know it was him, the police summary said. The victim suspected it was him and didn't answer.

Major pleaded guilty to three counts of contravening a protection order at Blenheim District Court on Monday.

A police summary of facts said Major and his ex partner had been separated for about four years, and had one child together.

On July 26, Major included the victim in an email chain along with other agencies. There were a total of four emails. These emails included enquiries about their son's schooling and court proceedings.

Four days later, he attached her to another email singling her out as his son's "terrible attempt at a mother".

The defendant was aware that he was not to contact the victim. In explanation, Major said "I sent the emails to be transparent" and denied making the phone calls, however he accepted the summary of facts.

Major sought to be discharged without a conviction because it could cause him difficulties keeping his current employment and gaining employment if he was to relocate to Auckland.

He was also concerned it would complicate involvement with his son's school life, like coaching sport teams and attending school camps.

Lawyer John Holdaway represented Major at the sentencing on Monday. He said Major had moved to Blenheim expecting his ex partner and child to follow.

In Major's opinion, his ex-partner had tried to minimise the relationship with her and their son, Holdaway said.

"He found this hard, especially considering he was the primary carer of the child for the first two years of the child's life," he said.

"The victim told him once he had shifted to Blenheim that he had lost his child and there was nothing he could do about this."

Judge Tony Zohrab said the "nasty little incident" made up of the phone calls and emails could not be considered in isolation.

Zohrab said psychological abuse was "very much contextual" and in assessing the gravity of the offending, he had to take into account the months before the protection order was made.

Major threatened to stab the victim in the heart with a screwdriver in order to get life insurance money in 2013. He participated in the Man Up course and was discharged without a conviction.

On March 8 last year, a judge in the family court observed that the way Major was messaging his ex partner via Skype showed a "total lack of insight".

Another family court judge identified Major's behaviour was unsafe for his ex partner and the child in April 2018. She suspended contact and on April 11 a temporary protection order was issued.

Zohrab called out Major's actions as "moderately high" psychological abuse and behaviour which "chips at a person's confidence".

"You have persuaded yourself that you are the victim and that she is the person who has really created the situation," he said.

Zohrab acknowledged a letter of apology that Major had written, but said it lacked remorse.

"I see you wallowing in self pity. You're not prepared to step back and look objectively at how you might possibly have contributed to this situation.

"I appreciate that relationships are difficult, especially when there is a child ... but you have got to take a long hard look at yourself because you are not the victim here."

Major was ordered to complete 80 hours of community work.

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