An Aussie dad has appealed his sentence over a frightening series of acts in which he tracked his ex-partner’s car and bugged her home, as his criminal history revealed a pattern of behaviour.

Daniel Ben Barnett was sentenced to two years in jail at Belmont Local Court in June for a string of domestic violence offences against his ex-lover.

He earlier pleaded guilty to four counts of contravening an Apprehended Domestic Violence Order (ADVO), one count of stalking or intimidating with intent to cause fear and two counts of installing or use a tracking device to find a person without their consent.

As he appealed his sentence in the NSW District Court today, the 48-year-old’s non-parole period was cut from 16 months to 12 months.

That’s despite scathing remarks from Judge Roy Ellis, who asked “why the heck the victim wouldn’t be thinking the worst” and fear Barnett when she discovered the lengths he’d gone to keep an eye on her.

The court heard that after his ex-partner left him unexpectedly, Barnett stalked her by placing tracking devices on her car and inside her home. Police discovered the devices in her home after checking in on her following the arrest of Barnett for breaching an AVO. The listening device in her bedroom could operate for 25 days without being recharged, the court was told.

The crown prosecutor told the court the surveillance offences were particularly serious due to their “degree of planning … implementing, installing, monitoring …. (it was an) invasion of privacy”.

She said there’d been a concerning escalation in offending, with Barnett having a “history of offences in the context of a relationship breakdown”.

The court heard Barnett, who worked in mines before his arrest, was charged with contravening an ADVO and assaulting his ex-wife of many years in 2018.

Judge Ellis said his letter to court showed he pleaded guilty to the 2018 matters by “falsely admitting to assaulting his former wife” to help her at court, but that “does not appear believable”.

Barnett was arrested on March 28 for the charges against his most recent partner and has been in custody since.

His lawyer told the court his client had “done a lot of soul searching” after the failure of two relationships and realised in hindsight that his actions were wrong.

Judge Ellis said that while the offences did not include violence, they involved “not insignificant acts that no doubt impact severely upon the mental well-being of a victim, which, in and of themselves, generate fear and concerns about the application of physical violence … when you get a situation where a woman essentially is stalked.”

“Even if your client didn’t intend to do anything physically, how in the heck is the victim supposed to know that?”

But, ultimately, Judge Ellis decided Barnett did not need to spend another year in prison to learn his lesson and for the community to be protected, ordering him to be released on parole on March 27 next year.

“He says he understands the fear (his actions) would’ve caused her, says he’ll stay away from her and is aware of the harm of domestic violence in the community,” Judge Ellis said.


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By Rahul

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