Facebook hacker out of prison on appeal

A man who assaulted his partner then hacked her Facebook account to try clearing his name has been released from prison after his appeal was granted.

Peter John Vince (46) was sentenced to 22 months' imprisonment when he appeared before the Dunedin District Court in August.

But that was overturned by the High Court after a successful appeal.

A recently released judgement from Justice Gerald Nation had Vince's penalty converted to nine months' home detention.

``Mr Vince had trouble accepting that a woman he had been in a relationship with for some seven months wished to end that relationship,'' Justice Nation said.

On January 28, Vince went to the victim's house in Mosgiel and said he wanted to take her to Chinese New Year celebrations in Dunedin.

She only acceded when he agreed to remove his belongings from her house.

While she was preparing to leave, Vince grabbed her around the waist and tried to hug her.

As she struggled, he pinned her to a nearby bed for several minutes until she stopped.

Vince made his legal woes more perilous in the following days.

He accessed the victim's Facebook account and sent himself a message which implied she had attacked him with a knife and the bruises she sustained were from him fending her off.

As a result, Vince pleaded guilty to assaulting a female and attempting to pervert the course of justice.

``It remains the case that offending by way of perverting or attempting to pervert the course of justice will usually require a sentence where the emphasis is on denunciation and deterrence so that often imprisonment will be required,'' Justice Nation said.

But he accepted defence counsel Andrew Dawson's argument that Judge Michael Crosbie had made an error when referring to higher court authorities.

``The steps Mr Vince took, in attempting to divert the police from the truth as to what had happened, were not sophisticated ... This was a clumsy attempt to create false evidence and likely to be discovered ... this was not an attempt to suborn a witness or to interfere with the criminal prosecution process once that had already started,'' Justice Nation said.

``As the sentencing judge noted, the attempt to derail the investigation and avoid potential prosecution was made at an early stage in the investigation process and, because it was admitted, did not affect the future course of the investigation or the outcome of the prosecution.''

The judge noted Vince was well regarded by his employers in his seasonal job and it was important the court imposed the least restrictive penalty appropriate in the circumstances.

The protection order the District Court granted in favour of the victim remained in place.




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