A man who sent millions of derogatory emails making false claims about MP Christie McBain during the 2020 Eden-Monaro by-election has been sentenced to 20 months in prison in the community.
- Emails making false claims about MP Christy Sexton reach nearly 1 million inboxes
- Emails containing derogatory remarks about former MP Karin Phelps hit at least 500 inboxes
- Responsible person diagnosed with range of mental health issues
The Penrith District Court heard that 34-year-old Blacktown resident Cheng Fan was delusional and suffering from multiple mental illnesses when he sent those emails along with emails about former Wentworth MP Karin Phelps during the 2019 federal election .
Emails about Ms. McBain were sent to 24 million people, and successfully reached the inboxes of nearly one million.
They included false claims that children’s screams could be heard from Ms. McBain’s basement.
Some of the emails came from erroneous addresses belonging to the Catholic Archdiocese in Sydney, which had received more than 40 formal complaints.
The court also heard that Fan sent at least 500 emails that contained racist and homophobic slurs about Wentworth candidate Karin Phelps.
Police found evidence that at least 500 people, and probably more, had received emails about Dr. Phelps.
Candidates are apprehensive about their security
Fan pleaded guilty to charges of issuing a deceptive and misleading case during the election period, using the carriage service for threat and working in identification information and using it to commit fraud.
During sentencing, Judge Karen Robinson said there were fears for their safety after emails were sent to Ms. McBain and Dr. Phelps.
“derogatory is described [Ms McBain] as it has shaken him in a way that has made him a more protected person,” Judge Robinson said.
The court heard that Ms McBain’s rival, Liberal candidate Fiona Kotwoj, had been the subject of verbal abuse from those who thought she was responsible.
“The emails continue to adversely affect his name and reputation today,” Judge Robinson said.
Dr Phelps’ rival, liberal candidate Dave Sharma, told the court that it caused significant disruption to his campaign because some people even thought he was behind the emails.
Mr Sharma was so worried that he hired his cyber security expert, whose job was to track down the fan to the police and he was arrested in July 2020.
Judge Robinson described the objection as a “considerable personal toll” on the candidates.
used to steal job advertisement id
Fan also pleaded guilty to several charges related to fraud after stealing the identities of several people and using their passports and licenses as part of an email scheme.
The fan found his victim by posting a fake job application online, to which more than 300 people had applied.
He then requested the applicants to provide his ID, which he used to register the SIM card.
The police found the stolen personal identities of 16 different people kept in his laptop.
Judge Robinson accepted Fan’s lawyer’s argument that he was motivated by his delusional beliefs, not a desire for money or political influence.
Fan was obsessed with news coverage and believed that certain programs were created specifically for him.
He also reported hearing the voices of prominent politicians.
The court heard that a psychologist had diagnosed her with multiple mental health problems after her arrest and had given her anti-psychotic medication.
But when Judge Robinson acknowledged Fann’s lesser culpability, he said he still had to be held accountable for the fear and hatred he caused innocent members of the community.
Mr. Fan must seek mental health treatment and take his medication under the terms of his release.
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