Ballina woman-basher phoned victim from prison

Benjamin James Cross has been given a lighter sentence on appeal after trying to influence his victim to change her testimony.
Benjamin James Cross has been given a lighter sentence on appeal after trying to influence his victim to change her testimony.

A BALLINA man rang his former girlfriend more than 100 times from Grafton Jail in an attempt to get her to change her testimony about him bashing her.

The barrage of phone calls earned Benjamin James Cross, then 32, a conviction for influencing a witness and a five-year jail sentence with no parole for three years.

But a successful appeal in the NSW Court of Appeal means he will now be eligible for parole after two years, with three years and six months as his total sentence.

Cross and his partner were in a violent relationship and living together in a caravan in West Ballina in 2013.

Cross was charged with assault occasioning actual bodily harm and reckless wounding after assaulting his former partner at their caravan in April 2014.

He was refused bail and held in remand at the Grafton Correctional Centre until his scheduled court date the next month.

Cross called his former partner more than 100 times over a three-week period but many calls went unanswered.

"In a number of them, the offender either advised the victim to withdraw her statement, or alternatively to give false evidence in the proceedings, or otherwise not attend as a witness at the hearing," the statement of facts said.

"On several occasions, the offender would refer to the victim using the false name of 'Kate', instead of the victim's real name... in order avoid detection by Corrective Services."

Transcripts show Cross also phoned a male friend and suggested: "If she turns around and says 'nah, you know, I had psychotic episode and that's what happened... and the police just pressured me into saying, making a statement', well then I'll be let out on that day."

Justice Peter Garling said the original sentence was excessive, noting Cross had been a model prisoner since his arrest.

"There is no suggestion (Cross's) behaviour whilst in custody has been anything other than appropriate," he said.

Cross will be eligible for parole in April next year.


Topics:  advo ballina benjamin james cross court domestic violence grafton correctional centre grafton jail influencing a witness

Vikings, horses, art and showbags at North Coast National

Vikings (left to right) Gabriel Hooper, Peter Romilio and Michael Rowe with a replica model of a Viking ship on display at the North Coast National Show.

PHOTO GALLERY: The iconic Lismore show is on today

Walk for human rights and refugees


Lismore will host a walk for refugees and human rights Saturday

Water main replacement means road closures

The area that will be affected by the water main replacement this weekend.

There will be a temporary road closure as a water main gets replaced

Local Partners

Finishing touches to beautify Bangalow Weir

FINAL finishes on the Bangalow Weir are underway and residents are encouraged to join an upcoming beautify planting day.

Former Split Enz front man Tim Finn finds new niche

Singer Tim Finn has written the music for theatre production Ladies in Black.

Musician finds his way to theatre

Jethro Tull is back to Bluesfest

ICONIC: Ian Anderson of Jethro Tull at Bluesfest 2011.

Jethro Tull returns to Bluesfest next April

Beth Hart will set the stage on fire

ON FIRE: Beth Hart, coming to Bluesfest 2017.

American singer/songwriter Beth Hart

Azealia Banks won't take legal action against Russell Crowe

Rapper Azealia Banks

Rapper drops legal action against Russell Crowe

Brad Pitt meets with his kids amid divorce proceedings

Actor Brad Pitt

Brad Pitt has met up with his oldest son Maddox

Pictures of Taylor Swift allegedly being groped are sealed

They could "complicate jury selection".

Bruce Springsteen finds therapy useful

Singer Bruce Springsteen

Singer encourages others to seek help

Kerry Washington wants one more child

Kerry Washington recently gave birth to her second child

Kerry has only just become a new mum again

TRAVEL: Musicals light up Sydney

David Campbell performs in Dream Lover.

We take a trip through one of Sydney's finer scenes

Hit songwriter's Noosa mansion on market

SPECIAL PLACE: The Cintamani estate is going to tender, marketed by Tom Offermann Real Estate.

Is this Queensland's best property?

Kiwi siblings snap up Dotcom mansion for $32.5m

The new toy company owners of the Coatesville mansion want replace any controversy with positivity and fun. Photo / Barfoot and Thompson

The trio paid $32.5 million for the property in June

New $200 million development will create 580 jobs

Cassie And Josh with baby Alfie and daughter Andee. They have bought at new Lennox Head development Epiq.

Majority of new positions will be given to Northern Rivers locals

Cherrabah's mega resort plans axed

PLANS for a massive development at Cherrabah have been scrapped.

Dusit Thani finance crisis 'just a small hiccup'

ON TRACK: Springfield Land Chairman, Maha Sinnathamby, Ipswich Mayor Paul Pisasale, Developer Richard Turner and Springfield Land Deputy Chairman, Bob Sharpless, at the recent resort sod turning ceremony.

Property developer says project remains firmly on track

Heavyweight enters real estate market

Des Besanko principal and director of Raine and Horne Springfield.

Major rebranding which has seen two big name brands merge