A man who played a “joke” by anonymously texting his ex-girlfriend and threatening to rape her has received house arrest as a sentence.
Judge Shauna Hewitt-Michta said an example needed to be made in an age where technology allows people to send anonymous threats to others.
“This is an opportunity, frankly, for the court to send a message … If they engage in this kind of behaviour, serious consequences will attach,” Hewitt-Michta said in Brandon court on Monday.
Eric Alexander MacIsaac, 23, had previously pleaded guilty to uttering threats.
In the early morning of May 1, 2012, he sent a series of text messages to his ex girlfriend.
Despite their previous relationship, the cellphone number wasn’t known to the victim and MacIsaac refused to identify himself.
In her victim impact statement, the woman wrote that she’d been receiving texts for some time and initially brushed them off as a joke. But they continued and escalated.
She lived alone in the city but one evening, while watching a movie with a friend, she received an especially disturbing message.
“I am definitely going to rape you.”
Efforts to dial the phone that was used to send the message failed.
The victim then sent a message back to the offender, warning him she was going to call police and she wasn’t kidding.
“Me neither, cutie,” her tormentor texted back.
The victim reported the matter to police, but no details were shared in court to explain how MacIsaac was identified as the culprit.
However, the victim detailed her fear in her victim impact statement.
During the three weeks that she’d received various texts, she would have friends stay over. She kept her doors locked and always felt like someone was watching.
When she took her dog outside, she’d phone a friend and only hang up once she was back inside her home.
“I’ve never been so paranoid and scared like that before in my whole life,” she wrote.
Crown attorney Garry Rainnie told court that MacIsaac had claimed the messages were intended as a “joke” but otherwise couldn’t offer an explanation.
Defence lawyer Philip Sieklicki said that even his client can’t fully understand why he sent the text threat to his former girlfriend.
The couple’s breakup had been amicable, said Sieklicki who requested a conditional discharge for his client, who now realizes this is “no laughing matter” and had no prior criminal record.
Hewitt-Michta, however, said public safety would be better served by a sentence aimed at deterring such behaviour.
She agreed with Rainnie’s recommendation for a conditional sentence order — often described as a “jail” sentence served at home.
MacIsaac will be under house arrest for the next four months, to be followed by two years of probation.
He also has to write an apology to the victim.