Jail time for Facebook, text threats to Ipswich witness

HE HAD nothing to gain but Michael Sinclair used social media to put the hard word on an Ipswich man in a misguided attempt to dissuade him from giving evidence in a court case.

Michael Laurence Sinclair, 39, from Bundamba, pleaded guilty in Ipswich District Court to attempting to pervert justice between February 15 and February 24, 2017.

Crown prosecutor Amanda Robinson said it involved a case in which a man was assaulted by a person with a hammer and threatened with an electric shock machine.

Ms Robinson said Sinclair used Facebook to send messages to the victim to dissuade him giving evidence.

He warned the man that he should protect his family and "not sink an innocent man with children".

This message was later conveyed in a phone conversation recorded by police.

Judge Dennis Lynch QC heard the intimidation tactics did not work.

Defence barrister David Jones said Sinclair's attempt to pervert justice was done for others.

"He knew the main offender and the victim," he said.

"He was told that the complainant had identified the wrong person."

Judge Lynch said Sinclair sent texts to him suggesting in strong terms that he should not show up in court.

"That if he did pursue the complaint it would be a bad result for him and his family. He would be put in danger," he said.

Judge Lynch said it was a serious matter, and strikes at the heart of the administration of justice.

Judge Lynch said while he could not declare the five months Sinclair had spent in custody, he would reduce his sentence from 18 months to 12 months.

Sinclair will be released to parole in April after he serves six months.

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