SYDNEY — A former University of Technology Sydney dean of science has been found guilty of sending fake threatening letters to herself including one which read “chop our future we chop yours”.
Dianne Jolley, after three days of deliberations, was found guilty of 10 charges of conveying information likely to make a person fear for their safety, knowing that it was misleading, over the material sent to the University of Technology Sydney and her home between May and November 2019.
In the five months from July through November, she received various letters one of which suggested she had been poisoned, a card with a photo of her face and a red line running across it, and a threatening note on her car on the day clothing was found cut up at her home.
The academic was also found guilty of one charge of causing financial disadvantage by deception to her work, after the University of Technology Sydney spent more than AU$127,000 ($93,630) in security measures protecting her.
The university’s expenses towards Jolley’s security included CCTV cameras installed for monitoring threats in her office and at residence, private security for chaperoning her around the campus, monitoring alarms, and hiring cars for her commute.
The jury delivered their unanimous verdicts in the District Court on July 22 with the judge thanking them for their dedicated deliberations.
Judge Ian Bourke had previously ordered the jury to find Jolley not guilty of nine other charges following a lack of evidence.
“The 51-year-old had sent herself the menacing letters to garner sympathy from the faculty as she tried to close down the university’s traditional Chinese medicine course,” said the Crown.
But her legal team has argued she was the victim in her case.
“It made no sense that someone with a reputation of the highest level would sabotage her own position for the closure of a course which she didn’t even oversee in the first place,” said the counsel.
Jolley has admitted to drafting one letter herself, after she was caught on CCTV shortly before her arrest in November 2019. Jolley had also claimed some of her belongings were stolen including underwear that she received in an envelope. However, it was later found that the sticky side of the postage stamp of the said envelope had her own fingerprint.
She gave evidence she had deliberately been caught writing the final letter so that the university would dismiss her, saving her a three-month notice period if she resigned.
She denied sending all the other threats.
Her bail is to continue, and she will be sentenced at a later date.
Edited by Saptak Datta and Krishna Kakani
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