WA man fined for harassing alleged sexual assault victim after juror reveals name
A Perth man has admitted harassing an alleged sexual assault victim after a juror gave him his name.
- The man started messaging the woman after a jury friend revealed his name
- Jurors are instructed not to discuss the case outside the jury room
- The magistrate said the case ‘strikes at the heart of justice’
Alastair William Turner targeted the woman, whose case had gone to trial, after a friend of the jury passed on the information.
Turner harassed her via social media and text messages.
“You didn’t like the result today,” he wrote to her.
“What did you expect?” »
He claimed there was “no proof” of her allegations, that it was a “shame”, and he accused her of wasting taxpayers’ money.
Turner claimed he was speaking on behalf of the jury members.
“You can’t send an innocent man to jail,” he wrote.
He had accused her of drinking too much.
In another post, Turner said she was “totally pathetic” for “blaming someone for rejecting you.”
Facebook messaging group
Messages were sent four times, via Instagram and SMS.
The court heard the woman was upset after receiving the messages, as she did not know who was sending them.
Police investigated and found a Facebook messaging group including Turner and the jury friend who leaked the complainant’s name.
The court heard it was unclear whether any action had been taken against the juror.
Before a trial begins, juries are instructed by a judge not to tell anyone outside the jury room.
Magistrate Robert Young said the offense appeared to be “unique”.
“The worrying part about it is…it’s hard to know where to start,” he said.
Harassment strikes at the “heart of the justice system”
The magistrate said there had been a lot of publicity around sexual assault and the notion of consent.
Plaintiffs have struggled to negotiate with the justice system, he told the court, and everyone should have a chance to be heard.
Turner’s posts were “mocking” and “demeaning”.
Magistrate Young said a complainant would react with “absolute horror” if their name had been released by a member of the jury and an associate used the information to harass.
It “strikes at the heart of justice”, declared the magistrate.
Turner “targeted a complete stranger and berated her”, in what was “weird and appalling behavior”.
The man’s attorney said Turner, 32, sent the messages while intoxicated and was remorseful for his actions.
Messages have been “reflected”
But Magistrate Young said the messages were consistent.
“You sat, you thought, you hit send,” he said.
The magistrate gave some weight to Turner’s mental health issues and accepted that he was unlikely to re-offend.
Turner pleaded guilty to harassment and was fined $8,000.
Magistrate Young said there was “a public interest in maintaining community confidence” in the justice system.
Turner’s request for a past conviction was denied, with the magistrate saying it was improper.
A restraining order was imposed to protect the victim.
The “complainant has been through a lot”, Magistrate Young said.