Sunday Territorian

Swindler officer hit with fine

- Jason Walls

A veteran cop who swindled $200 from his ex-wife in a dispute over the family photos following an acrimoniou­s divorce will have to explain why he should not be sacked.

David Robert Trenerry, 46, pleaded not guilty in the Darwin Local Court to one count of obtaining benefit by deception after faking a computer hard drive malfunctio­n in 2021.

His lawyer, Peter Maley, had argued Trenerry had an “honest claim of right” to the money, which would constitute a defence to the charge even if he used “dishonest means” to recoup it, as long as he had no “intention to defraud”. But in finding Trenerry guilty last week, judge Thomasin Opie found he “was, in fact, claiming the money as part of an exercise of control or retaliatio­n in the context of an acrimoniou­s marital breakdown”.

The court heard Trenerry had told his ex his computer’s hard drive was broken and he could not retrieve the photos for her until she paid him $200 to contribute to repairing it.

But Ms Opie said this was untrue and that Trenerry had admitted that he “knowingly made many false representa­tions”, including that the computer was malfunctio­ning and needed repairs which he could not afford on his own. In dismissing Trenerry’s defence, Ms Opie said his “lies and obfuscatio­ns” showed he did not honestly believe he was “entitled to make such a remote and unreasonab­le claim”.

In fining Trenerry $200 without conviction, Ms Opie said she took into account his 15 years of service as a police officer and that “the value of the money that was taken or obtained was low”.

“I take into account the fact that this behaviour occurred at a very low point in your life by virtue of your marriage breakdown and may, or most likely would never have, otherwise occurred,” she said.

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