Government employee found guilty of almost three-year harassment campaign

A Dunedin man has been found guilty of a harassment campaign following a parking dispute. (File photo)
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A Dunedin man has been found guilty of a harassment campaign following a parking dispute. (File photo)

A Government employee has been found guilty of a two-and-a-half year harassment campaign.

The 39-year-old man was found guilty of criminal harassment, threatening to cause grievous bodily harm and intentional damage when he appeared before Judge Paul Kellar in the Dunedin District Court on Thursday morning.

"What started out as something [he] may have regarded as a prank escalated into threats to harm [the victim]."

The Crown alleged the man was behind a two-and-a-half year harassment campaign following a parking dispute outside the victim's business in June 2012.

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The defendant had parked over the driveway of the victim's Dunedin business, and the complainant sent him a text saying "nice parking d.......' before posting a picture of his child's car seat on Facebook.

Judge Kellar said the defendant was angry with the victim, having dented his vehicle and deflated a tyre.

The victim's actions were "deliberately provocative", but a police complaint by the defendant did not resolve the matter.

The defendant "was not prepared to let [the victim's] conduct, as he saw it, go unanswered".

Months later the victim began receiving gay slur texts, and a police search of the defendant's computer showed he had an interest in the victim, with details of his family found later on his computer.

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The Crown claimed the defendant became infatuated with the victim, and his actions were sophisticated and largely unable to be traced.

That included spray-painting the victim's name and phone number around various gay hangouts, creating fake gay dating profiles, paint-bombing his business, and sending of dozens of anonymous texts.

It was a note found in a search of the defendant's vehicle on February 22, 2015, that led to his downfall.

The note contained three crucial pieces of evidence linking the defendant with the harassment campaign: an email address, a phone number, and letters referring to a New Zealand dating website.

Judge Kellar said "[the man] was not done with [the victim]".

Soon after a male sex toy and a lightbulb toy in a courier package was thrown at the victim's business.

Earlier a paintball had been thrown at his business premise, and it was later found a search was made on his computer on how to make a similar device.

Judge Kellar said he was satisfied the man created a New Zealand Dating profile for the victim.

The theme of portraying [the victim] as a closet homosexual had become "entrenched", he said.

He was satisfied the man also spray-painted the gay slurs around Dunedin, but was not satisfied he sent letters to neighbouring businesses accusing him of being a paedophile.

The texts began "escalating" with threats suggesting to the victim he "buy something bulletproof".

The man will be sentenced either on Friday or in June.

 - Stuff

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