An Auckland businessman who psychologically abused his ex-girlfriend and breached a protection order repeatedly after she ended their relationship has been described as "reprehensible" by a district court judge.
Zane Paul, also known as Steven Fernandez Wilkinson, was sentenced to four months' community detention in March this year after pleading guilty to three representative charges of contravening a protection order by engaging in behaviour which "amounted to psychological abuse of the protected person".
The representative charges mean Paul committed multiple offences of the same type in similar circumstances.
The 46-year-old, initially faced eight charges relating to two women -- both ex girlfriends -- when he first appeared in the Auckland District Court on July 7 last year.
In both cases when the relationship ended the women applied for protection orders and told authorities that they feared for their safety as Paul was intimidating, threatening and frightening them.
Before Paul was sentenced five of the charges were withdrawn by police. The charges he was sentenced on relate to only one of the women.
Since sentencing Paul has been fighting to block the Herald from publishing certain details of the case. However after months of legal arguments Judge David Sharp granted the Herald access to the court file including the specifics of the charges and the police summary of facts which outlined his offending.
Paul, a sales manager and current director of dairy free ice cream company Zero Moo, met the woman in May 2013 and by August that year they were in a relationship.
In October 2014 the victim ended the relationship and about two weeks later Paul went to her home at night and etched a cross into her front door.
Court documents provided to the Herald show Paul pleaded guilty to wilful damage after that incident and was fined $200 and ordered to pay reparation of $150.
The woman was granted a protection order after the incident, but that did not keep her ex away.
At sentencing in March Judge David Sharp outlined Paul's repeated breaches of the order and said the offending amounted to "psychological abuse" and was "a way to get at someone emotionally".
About a month after the order was granted Paul sent the woman three emails under a pseudonym with an attachment -- a copy of a tribute to her brother who had recently died.
He later sent the woman a further 10 DVDs containing tributes to her brother and emailed her again on the anniversary of her brother's death.
"For what it is worth you are in my thoughts this weekend, every minute" he wrote.
The court heard that Paul also emailed the woman and her friend emails from "fictitious" accounts. He also set up a Facebook page under the name Nick Dunne which he used to comment on the woman's public comments.
In April 2014 Paul sent two texts to the woman.
The first read "key is in the door silly, we will be back in an hour ZP xx" and the second said "I'm so sorry wrong (person) ... my apologies. It won't happen again. I have deleted the contact in my address book ... my sincere apologies ... "
Judge Sharp said the representative charges were "more serious" than one-off incidents as they represented a "course of conduct".
Paul's offending was serious, harmful and involved "different elements of emotional abuse", Judge Sharp said, and the repetition of the behaviour was "reprehensible".
"I have read the victim impact statement ... from intelligent, articulate people who have disclosed a degree of pain that comes from the offending," he told Paul.
"People have the protection of the law against psychological abuse. It's there and it has to be there."
He sentenced Paul to four months' electronically monitored community detention with a curfew period of 9pm to 6.30am and 12 months' supervision during which he must attend and complete a stopping family violence programme to be organised by his probation officer.
From adoring to abusive: what Zane Paul's ex told the court
In the beginning of their relationship Zane Paul "adored" her.
But the "honeymoon period" did not last and soon, she said, she was subjected to psychological and emotional abuse.
The woman provided her Victim Impact Statement, presented to the court when Paul was sentenced, to the Herald in a bid to highlight psychological abuse within intimate partner relationships.
"I have been determined to see this through because I do not want one other woman to have to go through this," she said.
"Hopefully this will cause him to address what goes on in his head which makes him do such despicable things."
In her statement she said that by late September 2014 she was an emotional, mental and physical wreak.
"Fortunately this is when my defences began to kick back in, I realised what was happening and I started to fight back," she said.
"As soon as I stood up for myself Zane started threatening me. He continues to abuse me for standing up to him. Zane has literally made me fear for my life on at least one occasion. He has perpetrated what I can only describe as personal terrorism against me."
She said she actively avoided going to the suburb where Paul lived, and had stopped going to Waiheke Island as he often travelled there.
"I am nervous in Newmarket, Britomart and airports, not just because I might see him but because he might be there and I don't see him but he sees me. I always wonder if I am being watched in some way or whether he reads my communications. I don't know what he knows," she said.
"My family and friends worry for me and they have to worry for themselves too."
The woman explained that she had been forced to take time off work to "hide " from Paul, to meet with police and to meet with her lawyer.
"I will not work late or at weekends in an office because this does not feel secure," she said.
The court process had been "exhausting" and she recently took three months off to "recuperate".
She has spent about $15,000 during the court process and "fighting" to have her protection order made permanent.
"But as a consequence of having to fight to prove Zane has a problem, I have no time, energy or money to do anything that I want to. I am simply surviving at the moment; he is stealing my life," she said.
"He has not only tried to hurt me but he has tried to destroy the structure and support that I have around me in terms of relationships and resources in order to weaken me further."
She said the court process was at times "embarrassing" and she felt degraded
"I doubt my own judgement and yet I know that Zane is so skilled at control that I was a perfect target for him. I don't want him to make me cynical, but the gross breaches of my trust, privacy and intimacy are difficult for me to fathom.
"I am a highly intelligent woman and yet I know I look really dumb. I am simply humiliated."
• Family violence: We can, and must, do better than this NZ
• Looking forward to a future without fear
• Family violence incidents increasing
• 'Why don't women leave? We hope they will change'
• 'I will leave him - I'm saying right now I am better than this'
If you're in danger NOW:
• Phone the police on 111 or ask neighbours of friends to ring for you
• Run outside and head for where there are other people
• Scream for help so that your neighbours can hear you
• Take the children with you
• Don't stop to get anything else
• If you are being abused, remember it's not your fault. Violence is never okay
Where to go for help or more information:
• Women's Refuge: Free national crisisline operates 24/7 - 0800 REFUGE or 0800 733 843 www.womensrefuge.org.nz
• Shine, free national helpline 9am- 11pm every day - 0508 744 633 www.2shine.org.nz
• It's Not Ok: Information line 0800 456 450 www.areyouok.org.nz
• Shakti: Providing specialist cultural services for African, Asian and Middle Eastern women and their children. Crisisline 24/7 0800 742 584
• Ministry of Justice: www.justice.govt.nz/family-justice/domestic-violence
• National Network of Stopping Violence: www.nnsvs.org.nz
• White Ribbon: Aiming to eliminate men's violence towards women, focusing this year on sexual violence and the issue of consent. www.whiteribbon.org.nz
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