Tasmanian woman sentenced after vile anti-gay abuse of neighbours

Tasmanian gay couple get win in hobart magistrates court
Image: Canley/Wikimedia Commons

A Tasmanian gay couple have celebrated a court win after a judge sentenced a neighbour who hurled constant anti-gay abuse and damaged their property to a suspended sentence of six weeks in prison.

The couple, Tony and Doug (not their real names), moved in next door to the woman in a southern Tasmanian town.

But then for over a year, the two men said they suffered her constant, anti-gay abuse, in an ordeal they described as “like living in a nightmare”.

The “non-stop” harassment, vandalism, and verbal abuse from the neighbour left the men “walking on eggshells” in their own home.

Tony recalled to the Examiner the harassment began suddenly after a small disagreement, but quickly escalated.

He claimed the neighbour screamed homophobic slurs at them, chopped down plants in their yard, ripped out a fence, and filled their mailbox with condoms and lubricant.

Tony recalled amid the abuse, both men tried to “stay away from the house as much as possible”.

“We love gardening but that [was] curbed because we feel like we’re constantly being watched,” he said.

He said the pair didn’t have conversations in their own backyard out of fear their abusive neighbour would hear.

The Tasmania man said he had “never experienced anything like it”.

“As gay men, in our working life you might experience a bit of prejudice but nothing too in your face,” he said.

“This has just been shocking.”

Abusive neighbour will go to prison if she offends again

In the Hobart Magistrates Court, a judge slapped the neighbour with the six-week prison sentence, suspended for two years subject to good behaviour. If the woman offends again she will go to prison.

Tony and Doug welcomed the Tasmania court’s decision, and hope it encourages other LGBTIQA+ people to report hate-motivated attacks.

“We had a harrowing time with daily verbal abuse and damage to property over a period of more than a year,” Tony said.

“We are very glad with the court decision because it shows homophobic abuse has consequences.”

Tony urged all LGBTIQA+ people who experience hate-motivated abuse to report it to police.

“The process of bringing abusers to justice isn’t always easy,” he said.

“But it is necessary if we are to stop abuse and create a more accepting society.”

Tasmania gay couple’s ordeal ‘not an isolated case’

Equality Tasmania spokesperson Rodney Croome welcomed the sentence and said the two men’s case “is not an isolated one.”

“I know of many LGBTIQA+ Tasmanians who have endured this kind of abuse from neighbours,” he said.

“This case has set a precedent that will hopefully deter other abusers.

“The outcome has been appropriate, but there are still issues raised by how long it took for the case to go to court. Tasmania Police generally responded well, but they could do better.

“Seeing the pattern of the abuse rather than a series of individual incidents, recording hate as a motive for abuse and assigning victims with a single case number would help streamline the police response.”

For the latest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer (LGBTIQ) news in Australia, visit qnews.com.au. Check out our latest magazines or find us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.

Jordan Hirst
Jordan Hirst

Jordan Hirst is an experienced journalist and content creator with a career spanning over a decade at QNews. Since 2012, the Brisbane local has covered an enormous range of topics and subjects in-depth affecting the LGBTIQA+ community, both in Australia and overseas. Today, the Brisbane-based journalist covers everything from current affairs, politics and health to sport and entertainment.

QNews, Brisbane Gay, App, Gay App, LGBTI, LGBTI News, Gay Australia


  1. Maillot Smith
    29 September 2022

    A small victory guaranteed!✈️

  2. Michael
    29 September 2022

    Anyone like this should also be required to relocate, if proven to be this horrendous & bloody minded. Hope she has to pay damages to the vandalism, so they can enjoy their gardening & home overall again.

  3. Lydia
    29 September 2022

    Suspended sentence.

    What about compensation for vandalisim etc.

    Doesn’t seem much of a punishment to me.

  4. Peter Turner
    29 September 2022

    Yes, now the offender needs to be publicly named and shamed

  5. Julian
    30 September 2022

    Another sham
    The abuser returns
    Double TRAUMA.

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