Menacing calls get convictions

THE actions of three call centre workers who sought revenge on a woman through threatening and abusive phone calls have been slammed by a magistrate as "reprehensible".

Former Salmat workers Andrew Lee Coney, 29, of Millbank, Dale Robert Edward Smedley, 21, of Kepnock, and Patrick James Watson, 23, of Bundaberg South, subjected a Melbourne woman to two weeks of tormenting phone calls in January this year because they thought she had been rude.

The trio issued a range of threats to the woman saying they would rape and murder her, spear her in the genitals and slit her throat.

Little did they know the barrister was one step ahead and had already arranged for Telstra to trace her calls, which led police right to their doors.

On Monday the trio pleaded guilty to charges of using a carriage service to menace and harass, and yesterday they were handed their sentences.

Defence lawyer Rian Dwyer, for Smedley, said his client had been diagnosed with depression, and that Smedley's involvement in the offences had been limited to one sentence in one phone call.

Mr Dwyer said his client had worked for the Bundaberg police call centre, but was advised to resign when the charges were brought.

On Monday, Mr Dwyer said his client had reapplied for the job and been accepted pending the outcome of the matter, but yesterday said the offer had been withdrawn. Defence lawyer Matt Messenger, for Watson and Coney, admitted they had been "idiotic".

Magistrate Jennifer Batts noted all three defendants had "significant" mitigating circumstances.

Ms Batts recorded convictions for all of the men.

"You each at the time had to know that what you were doing was wrong and reprehensible," Ms Batts said.

"This was a gross invasion of privacy."

Smedley and Coney were placed on 12-month good behaviour bonds of $1000 and $1500 respectively.

Watson, the ringleader, was sentenced to three months jail with immediate release onto a $1500 good behaviour bond for one year.

All three were ordered to have no contact with the victim.

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