Appeals court to review stalker’s sentence

A Grassmere man jailed after threatening his ex-wife and her new partner with a cattle prod will have his sentence reviewed after a surprise concession by a prosecutor.

A Grassmere man jailed after threatening his ex-wife and her new partner with a cattle prod will have his sentence reviewed after a surprise concession by a prosecutor.

A GRASSMERE man jailed after threatening his ex-wife and her new partner with a cattle prod will have his sentence reviewed after a surprise concession by a prosecutor.

At a sitting of the Supreme Court of Victoria Court of Appeal in Warrnambool yesterday, Justices Mark Weinberg, Simon Whelan and David Beach reserved a decision in relation to Peter John Gale, 44, of Grassmere Road.

Gale pleaded guilty in the Warrnambool County Court during May last year to two charges of stalking and single counts of aggravated burglary and threatening to inflict serious injury.

He received a total effective jail sentence of four-and-a-half years with a minimum of two-and-a-half years before being eligible for parole.

Counsel for Gale, Mark Gibson, submitted yesterday the charge of threatening to inflict serious injury could not be made out and the individual and overall sentences were manifestly excessive.

He said although Gale said “I will f... you up”, it did not amount to a threat to inflict serious injury.

The submission in relation to the sentences being excessive was surprisingly backed by Crown prosecutor Fran Dalziel.

She conceded that advice she had received from her Office of Public Prosecution supervisors was the sentences on each charge and the overall sentence was excessive.

However, Justice Beach noted that the sentence for aggravated burglary was only 14 per cent of the maximum for that charge.

It is expected the justices will make decisions on the threat charge, individual sentences and the overall sentence in the next couple of weeks.

Warrnambool County Court previously heard Gale hid a GPS tracking devices on his ex-wife’s car and broke into her home in the middle of the night to threaten her and her new partner with a cattle prod.

Gale had stalked and harassed his former partner over a seven-week period in late 2012 following the end of their 21-year relationship, in breach of an intervention order granted in mid-October 2012.

Judge Mark Gamble said Gale engaged in reprehensible conduct over seven weeks.

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