A female defendant had no conviction recorded against her for damaging her ex-boyfriend’s car after Magistrate Valdis Foldats heard that she had been the victim of “revenge porn” before she committed the offense.

The 29-year-old woman had previously pleaded guilty to causing damage to property.

Crown counsel Darlene Oko said the defendant and the complainant had been in a relationship and the complainant ended it. Some time later, he lent his car to a co-worker. After she returned it, he saw that a rear tire was deflated, the interior was “soaking wet” and the exterior was scratched. He asked the co-worker what had happened and she said she did not see who did it, but she believed it was the defendant.

The court heard that the cost to repair the damage was $1,950.

Defense attorney Kathleen Ryan did not disagree with those facts, but explained the background to them. She said the defendant and the complainant had been in a relationship for three years. They had worked at the same place and were friends at first.

After the relationship broke down, the woman went to the man’s residence and asked him for the money she had lent him – some $4,000.

“He denied owing it and said ‘get out,’” Ms. Ryan told the court.

The woman said she was going to the police, but the man called police before she got there and he reported that she was harassing him.

Five days later, “revenge porn” was posted on the workplace video chat room.

“She became the victim,” Ms. Ryan said of her client, and the only person who would have had those photos was the ex-boyfriend.

Co-workers told her there were others and she went to her boss about the matter. The boss said he was sorry, but he could not do anything.

The defendant became angry, confused and frustrated. Out of shame she quit that job. Fortunately, she was able to find another job and continue supporting her child. She also contributed to the financial support of her mother and her sister’s two children.

“She regrets what she did, that she lost control, regardless of what had happened to her,” Ms. Ryan said.

Ms. Oko pointed out that there had been no mention of “revenge porn” in the woman’s interviews after her offense.

“I’m a little concerned that it’s being mentioned now,” she said.

After hearing further from Ms. Ryan, the magistrate said it might have been because of embarrassment that the defendant had not talked about that aspect of the matter.

He thanked the woman for her guilty plea and cooperation during the preparation of a social inquiry report. Contacts in the community had described the woman as a responsible person and excellent worker, he quoted from the report. She had told the social worker, “I wish I could take it all back,” expressing regret for her actions.

Given the complications regarding the money allegedly owed to her, the amount of damage, and the fact that the ex-boyfriend was no longer on island, the magistrate said he would not order compensation.

Instead, he granted a conditional discharge, with conditions including 20 hours of community service and counseling if recommended by the officer overseeing her case. He said no conviction would be recorded against her.

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