IN COURT: The Warwick court heard claims the man was only trying to reclaim his money and his reputation when he turned to cyber harassment. Picture: MaxPixel
IN COURT: The Warwick court heard claims the man was only trying to reclaim his money and his reputation when he turned to cyber harassment. Picture: MaxPixel

Man ‘takes law into own hands’ to reclaim $270K debt

A Southern Downs man has claimed he was only trying to recover a $270,000 debt and dispel paedophilia allegations when he harassed another man nearly 80 times in just over a month.

Warren Douglas Atkinson texted his target 40 times between November 8 and December 24 last year from a blocked number, and called him another 20 to 30 times within the same period.

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The Warwick Magistrates Court heard police did not disclose the exact contents of the messages, but they often included a map with a pinpoint on the home of the victim's ex-partner and children.

Police prosecutor Steve de Lissa said the 42-year-old often sent up to 20 texts on any one day, ignoring the victim's replies asking for the sender's identity.

The man was eventually tracked down by police at his home earlier this year on January 16, but he declined to take part in an interview.

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According to defence lawyer Phillip Crook, Atkinson targeted the complainant as he was the brother-in-law of a man who owed him $270,000 and was ignoring his payment requests.

Mr Crook said the address his client referenced in the text messages was linked to his target's business, so there was "nothing particularly sinister" about it.

The concreter also claimed the victim was spreading false rumours among their mutual industry connections that he was a paedophile, which his lawyer said further angered him.

Mr Crook said the messages were "along the lines of, 'Where do you get off making defamatory statements about me?'".

Magistrate Julian Noud acknowledged there was no evidence to suggest the messages were threatening violence, towards the complainant, but warned him against "taking the law into his own hands" again.

Atkinson pleaded guilty to using a carriage service to menace, harass, or cause offence.

He was placed on a 12-month good behaviour bond and no conviction was recorded.


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