An AFL fan has been arrested and charged with stalking a league umpire, with the suspect leaving “menacing voicemails” to the umpire after getting a hold of his mobile number.
The 39-year-old man from Frankston was attained under a search warrant executed by detectives from the Sporting Integrity Intelligence Unit on Thursday.
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The man was charged with one count fo stalking and one count of using a carriage service to menace, before being released on bail.
The man will attend Frankston Magistrates’ Court on May 4, 2021.
7 News reported that the AFL fan had managed to gain access to the umpire’s phone number and had repeatedly called them during the Round 9 weekend, dating from July 31 to August 1.
If the man is found guilty, he may face up to 10 years in jail.
“Victoria Police takes any threat against a person extremely seriously and will investigate incidents to the fullest extent,” police said.
“Anyone seeking to cause harm online or via a telecommunications device needs to remember there are serious consequences to their actions which can have devastating effects for victims.
“This behaviour is not on – it’s criminal and Victoria Police will hold people to account for their actions.”
AFL general manger of football operations Steve Hocking lauded the police’s efforts.
“The safety and welfare of everyone in the game; on the field, off the field, and online remains our priority and we thank Victoria Police for their work to identify and charge the offender,” Hocking said in a statement.
“There is absolutely no excuse to threaten or abuse someone. It has no place at any level of our game or our society.
“This abuse affects our umpires, our players, and our staff. It is never okay and we’re not going to accept it.”