No jail for WA first revenge porn offender

Mitchell Brindley is the first person charged under WA's revenge porn laws.
Mitchell Brindley is the first person charged under WA's revenge porn laws.

The first person charged under Western Australia's revenge porn laws has been spared an immediate prison term.

Mitchell Joseph Brindley, 25, admitted creating five Instagram accounts in his ex-girlfriend's name and posting 10 nude photographs of her over four days in April, after they broke up.

Fremantle Magistrates Court head the pair met at age 16 and began a tumultuous intimate relationship in November last year.

Defence counsel Terry Dobson said his client attempted to take his own life because of their difficulties and wound up in hospital.

While the girlfriend initially stood by him, she later sent text message to friends saying he was a basket case, so he chose to lash out, Mr Dobson said.

"He thought he would do it in a non-violent way but the mental harm is just as significant," the lawyer said.

"And herein lies the problem of the social media nastiness."

Magistrate Dean Potter said Brindley had behaved impulsively and seemed to have been in the depths of despair.

The magistrate said Brindley had committed the first of four categories of image-based sexual abuse known as "relationship retribution".

He would have been handed jail time if the offending had been in the category of "sextortion", for instance, which involves threatening to share intimate images to coerce more intimate acts or money from a victim.

The magistrate said the victim now suffered trust issues.

"Her privacy, her personality, her self esteem have been greatly impacted," he said.

Mr Dobson said Brindley never sought to downplay his conduct.

When police were about to charge him, he asked if he could send her an apology but he was advised against it as she had taken out a restraining order.

"He realised he'd done some serious harm," the lawyer said.

Brindley pleaded guilty last month to distributing an intimate image of another without consent and was sentenced on Monday to a 12 month intensive supervision order.

He will be case managed by a Corrective Services officer who will determine whether he must undergo counselling or engage in programs.

The police prosecutor had called for an immediate jail term, saying it was important to deter the community from such offending, which had humiliated the victim.

Outside court, Mr Dobson publicly apologised to the complainant on his client's behalf.

"He's well aware of the hurt and the harm his actions have caused," the lawyer told reporters.

"He has learnt his lesson. Being the first and the resulting attention has been enormous, the impact upon him, for moments of madness, silliness.

"Hopefully this will send a message to the wider community."

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Australian Associated Press