A Moruya man who lied under oath in court while suing police for wrongful arrest has won a reduction in his prison sentence.
In December 2017, Robert Bruce Hunt was sentenced to 12 years' jail, with a non-parole period of nine years, after being convicted of perjury and witness intimidation charges that arose during previous court hearings.
In the Court of Criminal Appeal this week, that sentence was reduced to eight years, six without parole, backdated to his initial incarceration on February 7, 2017.
Facts tendered to the court included matters that stretched back to an alleged serious assault of a Moruya police officer in 2007.
At that time, Hunt was said to be dissatisfied with the manner in which NSW Police officers stationed in Batemans Bay and Moruya were dealing with claims of an assault and injuries he allegedly received in Wyndham in 2006. It was said there was "a great deal of hostility" between Hunt and those police officers.
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At the time, Hunt lived on Percy Davis Drive outside Moruya, as did a Senior Constable Michael Ochs.
On July 7, 2007, Hunt visited Senior Constable Ochs, who said he was there to complain about his treatment by police and refused to leave when asked.
It was alleged Hunt made threats against the officer and a violent struggle ensued as Senior Constable Ochs tried to arrest him.
During Hunt's 2008 trial on charges of assaulting a police officer causing actual bodily harm and intimidation of a police officer, Hunt said he had only attended the officer's home while looking for his nephew's dog.
Versions of events as tendered by Hunt and Senior Constable Ochs to the court vary greatly.
Hunt was subsequently found not guilty on all charges by a Bega District Court jury.
However, the explanation during the criminal case about a missing dog being the reason for his visit to Senior Constable Ochs' house was later found to be a lie and the basis for the main perjury charge.
Hunt used the same explanation during civil proceedings he launched following his acquittal. However, after those civil proceedings in 2012 it was found he had never been asked to mind his nephew's dog.
It was also discovered he had offered money to two witnesses for false testimony he had approached them asking about his nephew's missing dog.
In 2014 while in custody awaiting trial for perjury, Hunt threatened his sister, warning her not to see a solicitor or she would be visited by Rebel bikies, a threat that formed the basis of the witness intimidation charge.
In the District Court at Parramatta on December 11, 2017, Judge Colefax SC found Hunt guilty of the two counts of perjury and one of witness intimidation and sentenced him to 12 years.
However, the Court of Criminal Appeal on Wednesday, June 12, ruled in favour of Hunt's appeal team argument that the perjury during the criminal trial was not as serious as that of the civil matter, as it did not involve other people.
They argued Judge Colefax had treated both counts with similar consideration and therefore the aggregate sentence was excessive.
Hunt was re-sentenced to a maximum eight years and will be eligible for parole in February 2023.
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