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Teacher avoids jail for blackmailing gay lover

From theage.com.au:

AAP -- A Melbourne, Australia, teacher who blackmailed his gay lover using a video of them involved in a sex act has been fined and given a suspended sentence.

David Robert Hicks, 31, has pleaded guilty to one count of blackmail.

Hicks, whose address has been withheld for legal reasons, appeared today in the Victorian County Court for sentencing.

The court was told that Hicks had a sexual liaison with his victim, who cannot be identified, when he was 29 years old.

The pair met in a public toilet at Fairfield, in Melbourne's northern suburbs.

The court heard that they met four other times at the victim's home.

Hicks became aware that the victim was a "closet homosexual" who had a wife and daughter who were not aware of his activities, Judge Michael McInerney told the court.

"He was discreet, or discreet as one can be if you pick up someone in a public toilet," he said.

The court was told that during one of their liaisons, Hicks - who also was married, had a child and was bisexual - recorded them on his mobile phone participating in a sex act.

Hicks later approached the victim and told him he had a video of them and that he wanted $3,000 or he would show it to the victim's wife and put it on YouTube, the court heard.

"This enabled him to blackmail the victim," Judge McInerney told the court.

"There was only one intent by Mr Hicks ... and that was to obtain money."

The victim reported the incident to police who arrested Hicks.

The court heard that in his record of interview with police, Hicks admitted "deliberately undertaking the recording with the purpose of obtaining money".

In a medical report tendered to the court, forensic psychologist Elizabeth Warren said that what Hicks had done was an "impulsive, mean, opportunistic act".

Ms Warren could only explain Hicks' actions as being the result of stress from the birth of his first child and not coping with his clandestine bisexuality.

The court heard that Hicks, who teaches intellectually disabled children, had no prior convictions, had pleaded guilty early and had shown remorse.

Judge McInerney convicted and fined Hicks $3,000 and gave him a three-year suspended jail sentence.


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