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North Melbourne midfielder Tarryn Thomas has been ordered to pay $1000 to charity but avoided a conviction after threatening to distribute intimate content of his ex-girlfriend last year.
Thomas, who also goes by the name Tarryn Trindall, was granted a diversion on Tuesday after he admitted in court to threatening to share intimate videos of his former partner, although he had told his partner that he had shared them already.
Tarryn Thomas has admitted to threatening to share nude images of his girlfriend.Credit: AAP
The 23-year-old’s lawyer, Sally Vardy, opposed releasing details of the incident, but following an application from the press, Magistrate Julie Grainger agreed some details could be made public.
The magistrate said Thomas sent a message to the complainant over Instagram on July 17, 2022, accusing her of being intimate with another person.
During an exchange of messages, Thomas said he took offence to a message that referenced his mother.
“[Thomas] told the complainant that he had distributed intimate videos of the two of them, videos where both parties had consented to the recording,” Grainger said.
Tarryn Thomas returned in a VFL practice match in May.Credit: Getty Images
Thomas was initially charged with threatening to distribute an intimate image of another person before the charge was withdrawn on Tuesday and replaced with a single count of using a carriage service to harass after he agreed to take responsibility for the incident.
Vardy said her client was a proud Indigenous man who was born in NSW and raised in Tasmania after his family relocated when he was 11. She said when Thomas’ parents separated, it “drove a wedge” between him and his extended family, and he had no contact with his mother for some time.
She said he had since made up for lost time and now had an intensely strong relationship with his mother and paternal grandmother. At the time of the incident, she said, Thomas’ grandmother had recently died and he was struggling to cope with the sudden loss.
“He wasn’t coping very well,” Vardy said.
“Given his state of mind at the time … he overreacts.”
Vardy said that since the incident, her client had done everything possible to engage in relevant offending programs, including participating in a behaviour change program, receiving social media education and seeing a psychiatrist.
She said Thomas also had the support of his employer and had spent time working as a cleaner for an Aboriginal start-up during the court proceedings.
Grainger acknowledged the footballer had taken responsibility for the incident and said he’d done great work over the past year to learn how to better deal with “heartache and disappointment” and “manage his own emotions”.
The magistrate said while Thomas’ feelings may have been hurt in the context of a breakdown of his relationship, there was no excuse for his behaviour and labelled the messages harassing, inappropriate and unacceptable.
“We all have to be responsible for managing our own emotions,” she said.
She ordered Thomas to pay $1000 to the court fund – which distributes money to charities – and placed him on a diversion, meaning the single charge of using a carriage service to harass will not form part of any criminal record.
“You have worked really hard to better yourself,” the magistrate said.
Thomas returned to play with North Melbourne this season following a short time away from the club.
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