Judge adjusts stalker sentence because of Today Tonight story

A judge has moderated the sentence of a convicted stalker because he was identified on Today Tonight, and now had to be placed in protective custody.

David Smith, 40, from Torquay, was sentenced to a total of three years and three months with a non-parole period of two years and one month after pleading guilty to stalking his former partner, burglary and criminal damage.

The Age reports Victorian County Court judge Felicity Hampel was due to sentence Smith last week but after his photo, the details of his crimes and a re-enactment were aired during Today Tonight, he was had been threatened by other prisoners in the Melbourne Remand Centre.

He had been moved into protective custody involving 23-hour-a-day lockdown and will now serve his jail sentence in protection.

Today, the judge said she had moderated Smith’s sentence to take into account the fact he would serve his jail time in protection.

“Prisoners in protection do not have access to the same opportunities, in programs, visits and time out of cells or in contact with other prisoners as do those in mainstream. I accept that makes prison more onerous,” Judge Hampel said.

She did not say how she had moderated Smith’s sentence.

His victim was interviewed by Today Tonight for a story questioning whether apprehended violence orders protected women.


  1. Naming a shaming anyone can backfire, especially in criminal mater where they could disappear and then the police might not be able to find them or you have vigilantes who take to law into their own hands, sometimes leading to innocent people being harassed or worse.

    Maybe sentences need to be tougher in some cases so the guilty are imprisoned longer for some crimes?

  2. Secret Squirrel

    Personally I think that naming-and-shaming certain categories of criminals might often be a more effective deterrent against re-offending than simple gaol-time. However, this should be managed systematically and dispassionately through the courts and not via ad hoc stories on so-called current affairs programs whipping their credulous viewers into a frenzy via mock outrage.

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