A Ballarat man who had just been released from jail for family violence, bombarded his ex-partner with 'manipulative' messages sent through fake social media accounts.
Delacombe man Joshua Cartledge, 36, plead guilty to four charges including stalking, persistent contravention of a family violence intervention order and breach of a community corrections order in the Ballarat Magistrates Court on Thursday.
Sometimes victims communicate this type of offending is even more debilitating than physical violence because of the emotional factor.Magistrate Pauline Spencer
Magistrate Pauline Spencer sentenced Cartledge to 11 months in prison, of which he has already served 204 days, and a 24 month community corrections order following his release.
"This is a very serious example of this type of offending," Ms Spencer said in her sentencing remarks.
"It is debilitating for the victim - it impacts their lives in a myriad of ways and their ability to parent."
Police prosecutor Senior Constable Helen Farmer told the court Cartledge was arrested in April after he persistently sent messages to his ex-partner between February and the time of the arrest, in breach of a family violence intervention order that had been in place since July 2018.
The contact began in February when the victim received a friend request on Facebook from an unknown person.
It continued in March when the victim received message requests from unknown Facebook profiles that included details of their relationship and her daughter.
Senior Constable Farmer said more messages on Facebook as well as Snapchat and Instagram sent from unknown accounts made the victim feel concerned for her and her daughter's safety, including observations from outside her home.
It needs to be clear to you and others in the community this type of family violence is not acceptable.Magistrate Pauline Spencer
The victim did not respond to any of the messages and reported them to police in March and April.
"The victim made a statement and said she was feeling shocked and unsafe by the messages and wanted it to stop," Senior Constable Farmer said.
"The victim said she was fearful reading the messages and did not know what to expect from him next... she felt the wordings of the messages were playing with her emotions to get a response."
The court heard Cartledge had previously served an eight month imprisonment for family violence related matters.
Defence lawyer David Tamanika acknowledged the re-offending came quickly after Cartledge was released in 2018, but said he would be supported by his mother and brother and did not have a history of drugs or alcohol abuse.
He said Cartledge suffered symptoms of depression and anxiety due to a lack of contact with his daughter and had good prospects of employment with a lengthy career as a painter.
In sentencing, Ms Spencer said this type of offending should not be downplayed.
"Sometimes victims communicate this type of offending is even more debilitating than physical violence because of the emotional factor," she said.
"This is made more serious because soon after you were released from jail there was sustained stalking behaviour in breach of an intervention order. It had already been made clear to you this behaviour is not acceptable.
"I have heard you are hard working and someone who is able to think clearly about your situation. It seems there was acknowledgement of the risk you were running in masking your name.
"It needs to be clear to you and others in the community this type of family violence is not acceptable."
The family violence intervention order will remain in place when Cartledge is released from prison.