Former SBS sports reporter Scott McIntyre has been given a suspended prison sentence in Tokyo after being found guilty of trespassing.
The Australian freelance journalist, who is based in the Japanese capital, was arrested in late November, a month after allegedly attempting to locate his children, whom he has not seen for eight months.
The Tokyo district court on Wednesday sentenced him to six months in prison, suspended for three years.
“This penalty should not be taken lightly,” said the presiding judge, Yuichi Tada, in explaining the suspended sentence. “However, the area [McIntyre gained access to] was a common area and he did not use force. He has no criminal record and promised this court that he would not do it again.”
McIntyre, 45, was initially held at a police station in Tokyo before being transferred to the city’s main detention centre in Kosuge.
McIntyre, who was led into his court hearing last week in handcuffs and with a rope tied around his waist, apologised for his actions, claiming he had only wanted to ensure that his son and daughter, aged eight and 11, were safe after large parts of Japan were pummelled by Typhoon Hagibis in mid-October last year.
McIntyre claimed in court that his wife – with whom he has started divorce proceedings – had abducted their children in May last year and severed all contact with him.
“I have made repeated attempts [to find them] through the family court and the police but I have had no success,” he said at his hearing. “I have no idea where my children are. I have no idea if they are alive or dead. As a parent this causes me unbelievable grief.”
McIntyre made headlines in 2015 after SBS sacked him for posting controversial Anzac Day tweets critical of what he called the “cultification [sic] of an imperialist invasion”.
Source: The Guardian