Filmmaker Daniel Houghton receives 18-month suspended jail sentence for abusing girlfriend


Updated

March 29, 2019 15:11:41

An award-winning Australian filmmaker has avoided being sent to jail for what was describe as the “terrifying” and “deplorable” treatment of his former girlfriend and the two police officers who were called to help her.

Key points:

  • Daniel Houghton, AKA Jimmy the Exploder, received an 18-month suspended jail sentence
  • Houghton was previously best known for his work on the 2008 film “The Black Balloon”
  • Houghton was fined $5,000, with his former girlfriend to receive $3,500 as compensation

Daniel Houghton, who also goes by the names Jimmy Jack and Jimmy the Exploder, was convicted of a string of charges including deprivation of liberty, obstructing police and disorderly conduct arising from an incident at his family’s home in the Perth suburb of Applecross in January 2017

Houghton, who was previously best known for his work on the 2008 film The Black Balloon, had detained his then-21-year-old girlfriend against her will after they argued about him receiving text messages from other women.

The District Court was told over a period of about 15 to 25 minutes, Houghton refused to let the woman leave his bedroom and he grabbed her arms, pushed her onto a bed, threw her bag against a wall and started pulling out his own hair.

The woman managed to send a text to her mother who called police, and when they arrived, Houghton became aggressive towards them — demanding to know what the victim was saying and telling the officers to leave the property.

He then started recording events on his phone, and at one point sat in the middle of the driveway to stop the officers removing the woman’s car.

When he repeatedly refused to calm down, he was handcuffed and put in the back of a police van.

Houghton also admitted breaching the conditions of his bail not to contact the woman, with the court hearing three weeks later he approached her and one of her friends at a Northbridge hotel.

Houghton took steps to rehabilitate, Judge says

Judge Ronald Birmingham said Houghton had violently and forcefully detained a vulnerable young woman who must have been terrified by his “frightening and irrational” behaviour.

The judge praised the two police officers who attended the incident saying he was in admiration of the patience they showed in the face of Houghton’s abuse.

“Each of the officers displayed commendable restraint in the face of what was the most unpleasant abuse,” he said.

However Judge Birmingham accepted that since being convicted, Houghton had taken steps to rehabilitate himself, including receiving counselling for anger management and alcohol issues.

Houghton also wrote a letter of apology to the police officers and Judge Birmingham accepted that he was ashamed of what he had done.

He described Houghton as “a very capable and successful person”, noting that he had won an award and received much acclaim for his work on The Black Balloon, which starred Toni Collette, Erik Thomson and Gemma Ward.

Judge Birmingham sentenced Houghton to 18 months in jail, but ordered that the term be suspended.

He also fined him a total of $5,000 of which $3,500 will be paid to his former girlfriend as compensation.

Houghton is now subject to lifetime violence restraining order preventing him from contacting the woman in any way.

Topics:

law-crime-and-justice,

courts-and-trials,

domestic-violence,

perth-6000,

wa

First posted

March 29, 2019 15:00:56



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