A baby-faced man from Albion Park will spend at least nine months in jail for impersonating a police officer and extorting money from a man who he lured into a compromising position using a fake profile on the gay meet-up app, Grindr.
Jayson Hastie, 25, attracted the attention of an older man using an account under the name of ‘Alex’.
He spent two weeks wooing his victim, exchanging several sexually explicit messages and phone calls.
Hastie was a no-show at a planned meet-up on March 21, but made it to the rescheduled rendezvous at Bass Point two days later.
The victim was greeted by one of Hastie’s friends, before Hastie arrived a short time later, climbed into the backseat of the victim’s vehicle and introduced himself as ‘Alex’.
The terms of the ruse that followed have not been revealed in court papers viewed by the Mercury.
What is known is that Hastie claimed he was an undercover police officer and told the man, “you have been pinged”.
He said a disc he was holding was a tracker that would bring other officers to their location, and said, “you don’t have to say anything, but whatever you do say can be used as evidence in court”.
The “terrified” victim later told genuine police officers he agreed to Hastie’s demand for $2000 and drove to Stockland Shellharbour to withdraw the cash.
He also agreed to give Hastie continued financial “help” on a weekly basis.
“If you don’t, all the transcripts [and] photos will be going to police,” Hastie told him.
With his friend, Hastie searched the victim’s car before parting ways, telling him, “if you ever do this again, I’ll find you and break your legs”.
Hastie later pleaded guilty to charges of demanding money with menace and impersonating a police officer, in exchange for prosecutors dropping a more serious charge of kidnapping.
Considering the case last week, Wollongong Local Court Magistrate Peter Thompson said in impersonating a police officer, Hastie had contributed to an “undermining of the confidence the community might have in police officers”. He noted the offending involved a “significant degree of planning”, but found Hastie had good prospects of rehabilitation.
He ordered Hastie to serve 20 months’ jail time, with a non-parole period of nine months, making him eligible for release on September 11 next year.
The Mercury understands Hastie has since lodged a severity appeal, which will be heard at a later date.