A man who sent explicit photos of his ex-girlfriend to her new boyfriend claimed he felt like a victim, too.

Samuel Desmond Carr's behaviour was "quite appalling", Judge Jim Large told the Dunedin District Court yesterday.

The 31-year-old's six-year relationship with the victim ended in July 2019 and when he found she had moved on, three months later, he took to his phone, bent on revenge.

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Carr sent 10 explicit photos to the woman through Facebook, then used her Snapchat account to send one to her new boyfriend.

The judge said it was concerning the defendant sought to paint himself as a victim, too.

Carr, who pleaded guilty to a charge under the Harmful Digital Communications Act, said the woman had used his phone to access Snapchat, then remained logged in, which had allowed him to send the photo.

"Whatever images were taken would have been private to you and to her and not to be shown in the way you used them," Judge Large said.

"Your acts were premeditated and there were threats to her new boyfriend."

The victim, in a statement, said she felt "disgusted and disappointed" in Carr's actions and now feared for her safety, anxious about how he might react if they met inadvertently.

Defence counsel Meg Scally stressed the images were not posted on a public website.

Carr, she said, apologised to the woman before police laid charges.

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Judge Large rejected a Probation report that recommended only a sentence of supervision be imposed.

That would not reflect the emotional trauma the victim endured, he said.

He imposed two months' community detention, nine months' supervision and ordered Carr pay $500 to the victim.

The defendant's fines of more than $1000 were replaced by 40 hours' community work.