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Vic: Jail for man who blackmailed public figure over sex tape

By Michelle Draper
02 Mar 2009 12:46 PM

MELBOURNE, March 2 AAP - A Melbourne man who secretly filmed himself having sex with a prominent male public figure then blackmailed his victim for $15,000 will spend the next four months behind bars.

Jake Michael Della-Vedova, 25, demanded the married father pay him the money or he would send the footage to a television current affairs show.

County Court judge Lisa Hannan said Della-Vedova's offending was callous and calculated, and continued over a period of two days.

"This was not a momentary lapse in judgment," she said on Monday in sentencing Della-Vedova to 18 months' imprisonment, suspended after four months.

The court was told the pair met on a gay chat line last June and Della-Vedova later contacted the man for sex in return for money, telling his victim he was strapped for cash.

The pair met on July 2 at Della-Vedova's apartment, where they had sex while Della-Vedova secretly filmed the encounter.

The victim, whose identity has been suppressed, paid $150 for the liaison.

The following day, the men met again and went together to pay Della-Vedova's rent.

Later that day, Della-Vedova began sending a series of threatening text messages to his victim's mobile phone.

In one message, he sent an image of the pair including the words "$15,000 and 46 minutes of action to follow".

He gave his victim until 5pm the following day to pay the $15,000.

In another message Della-Vedova said: "I am sure you know what this will do for your career not to mention your credibility".

Judge Hannan said a message Della-Vedova sent including the victim's full name, which he discovered using an internet search, was clearly designed to intimidate him.

Della-Vedova mentioned the television current affairs program in further messages and said the footage would be the talk of the victim's workplace, "not to mention the media".

But the victim contacted police and Della-Vedova was arrested the following day in a meeting arranged to exchange the footage for the cash.

Della-Vedova, of Hawthorn East, told police he had planned to use the money to pay six months' rent, bills and buy a scooter. He pleaded guilty to one count of blackmail.

Judge Hannan said the ordeal had caused the victim to suffer stress and anxiety about his career.

"The nature of the threats was devastating from the victim's perspective," she said.

"This type of offending is, unfortunately, simple to perpetrate."

But she said Della-Vedova had expressed remorse and had good prospects for rehabilitation.

Judge Hannan suspended 14 months of the prison sentence for two years, but ordered four months be immediately served.