Court generic, Lady Justice statue
Court generic, Lady Justice statue

Man attempts to extort lover for drug money

A MAGISTRATE has slammed the "incredibly selfish" actions of a man who attempted to extort his lover for money to feed his drug habit.

Andrew Leslie Bale-Sonnex sobbed in Grafton Local Court as he was sentenced for demand with menace to obtain financial gain, stemming from a 2019 incident where the 22-year-old pretended to be his own father and messaged the victim with an accusation he was underage and would go to police unless paid $1500.

According to police facts tendered to the court, on February 7 last year the pair arranged to meet after matching on a dating app. In the weeks following the pair met a few more times and engaged in consensual sexual activity.

On February 23 the victim received a message from Bale-Sonnex claiming to be from his father, which said "I've confiscated his phone as he has been skipping school and as I am now aware, came and seen you".

The message stated that Bale-Sonnex was "only 16, and from what I can see, talking to him is the lease youse (sic) have done" before demanding $1500 "and we can forget this all happened or I'm going to the police".

The victim responded by saying he had confirmed Bale-Sonnex's age and believing the message was an extortion or blackmail attempt went to police.

After initially denying any knowledge of the matter, and claiming to be at vocational education at the time of the alleged meetings, police were able to determine it was in fact Bale-Sonnex who sent the messages to the victim.

As magistrate Michael Dakin delivered his sentence, Bale-Sonnex began to sob in the courtroom.

"Why are you crying?" the magistrate asked.

"Because I made a mistake a year ago and it's coming back to bite me in the arse," Bale-Sonnex said.

Mr Dakin didn't buy the emotional display, labelling his offences as "incredible selfish" and told Bale-Sonnex he lacked genuine remorse.

"I say this with respect, but the only reason you're being emotional is because you're feeling sorry for youself," Mr Dakin said.

"Otherwise you wouldn't have played up and got yourself kicked out of residential rehabilitation.

"I find your actions to be incredibly selfish, and you took advantage of your victim and caused great emotional stress all to gain money to buy drugs."

Bale-Sonnex was sentenced to an eight-month intensive corrections order.

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