A DISGRUNTLED rugby league fan who repeatedly called and left messages for two Group 10 referees after last year's grand final has been convicted of using a carriage service to menace, harass or offend and been fined $2000.
Nick Hartas, 23, of Mortimer Street, Mudgee, went to the trouble of creating rap verses to insult and demean one of the referees.
He did not appear to answer the charges against him at Bathurst Local Court and magistrate Catherine Follent found the charges had been proven and dealt with the matter in his absence.
Reading the fact sheets handed to the court, Magistrate Follent noted the behaviour of Hartas was obsessive and it continued for a reasonable period, causing significant apprehension to the victims about what might follow the threats.
She said general deterrence was needed.
She noted the victims were giving up their time to referee the game and "in no way expect this type of ill-treatment".
You wanna hear me rap? Let's go for a scrap.Convicted Mudgee man Nick Hartas in one of the messages left for a Group 10 referee following the 2019 grand final
Police facts tendered to the court told how Hartas attended the Group 10 grand final between the Mudgee Dragons and defending premiers Bathurst Panthers at Carrington Park in September last year, won by the Panthers 9-8 in a thrilling period of extra time.
After the game, one of the referees and his wife were threatened by a number of supporters at the ground, which was reported to Country Rugby League.
On September 20, the referee received a number of phone calls from a mobile where he was insulted and told he "should have been aborted".
On the same date, the second referee received a number of phone calls from the same mobile with similar messages.
On Saturday, September 21, one of the referees was at home with his family when he received a number of calls along the same line, including mention of the victim's family members.
Hartas rapped verses he had created that insulted the referee and included derogatory sexual references.
"You wanna hear me rap? Let's go for a scrap," Hartas said.
When police contacted Hartas regarding the messages, he made full admissions. Police said Hartas sounded upset and said "it was a stupid thing" to do.
He was convicted, in his absence, of two counts of using a carriage service to menace, harass or offend and fined $1000 for each of the matters.
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