Internet ‘blackmail’ charge admitted

July 11, 2016 | By More

Court House-Sept-2013-06A man has admitted trying to “blackmail” a woman into meeting him by threatening to post naked photographs of her on the Internet.

Thomas James Burborough, 28, pleaded guilty in the Christchurch District Court to a charge of causing harm by posting digital communications, and also a charge of possession of cannabis for supply.

Judge Stephen O’Driscoll remanded him on bail for sentencing on September 14, and called for a pre-sentence report covering his suitability for home or community detention. However, he said there was no guarantee that Burborough would receive a community-based sentence.

Burborough and a woman had exchanged intimate photographs.

He later texted her threatening to place naked photographs of her on the Internet if she did not meet with him.

On June 18, the woman went to the Christchurch Central Police Station to make a complaint about the threats. Police prosecutor Steve Burdes told the court: “While making her statement to the police a picture of her naked body was displayed on an Instagram page.”

The image had been posted by Burborough to further threaten and intimidate her into meeting him. When police contact Burborough he removed the image immediately.

The next day, police searched his address for electronic devices capable of storing images of the victim.

During the search of his bedroom, they found several containers of high quality cannabis plant material, along with nine filled deal bags which usually sell for $50 each. The total weight of cannabis was 406g. Other small bags and electronic scales were also found.

He told the police he had made the threats because he had “an emotional breakdown”, and that he had bought a pound of cannabis for $3500 to sell and get himself out of debt. He had not had a chance to sell any when the police arrived.

Judge O’Driscoll made an order for destruction of any images relating to the woman before the electronic gear is returned to Burborough.

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