How social media sex claims ruined a 40-year career
A BYRON Shire model who accused her former photographer boss of being a sexual predator on Facebook has pleaded guilty to breaching an apprehended violence order, by sending abusive texts to a woman who worked for him.
Emma Lousie Swinson, 43, pleaded guilty on July 23 in Mullumbimby Local Court of breaching an interim AVO, protecting the photographer Robin Merritt.
According to the AVO application lodged in Bankstown Local Court by Mr Merritt last year, Swinson was hired in April 2016 as a make up artist and assistant for a series of photo shoots on the Gold Coast area.
"I worked with her over three months before deciding to terminate her services due to a falling out and our business relationship was no longer appropriate," Merritt's court application reads.
"In August 2016 [Swinson] began a hate campaign against me stating things like 'Robin Merritt is disgusting, sexually lecherous, and a predator and has unwanted sex with women'."
He alleged that over the course of the next 12 months Swinson made the accusations repeatedly on various social media pages.
In September last year a magistrate in Bankstown Local Court ordered an interim AVO be imposed on Swinson, with special conditions barring her from using social media to verbally assault, threaten, harass or intimidate him or incite anyone else to do so.
She was also required to remove all of her social media posts relating to Mr Merritt.
But on November 27, she sent Mr Merritt's assistant Mariah Harris a series of abusive texts which police alleged breached the conditions.
"And I thought you were lovely and stuck up for you... omg I was wrong," she wrote to Ms Harris.
On July 23 Swinson pleaded guilty in Mullumbimby Local Court to breaching the interim order.
She was ordered to serve a nine month good behaviour bond with no conviction recorded.
Afterwards, Mr Merritt, a 40 year veteran of the photography trade, said the damage to his reputation from Swinson's widely shared social media posts was "irreparable".
"I have had no paid work this year... people who don't know me ask others on Facebook and get warned away by competitors... I have been told to expect 10 years for people to forget what Swinson and others have posted."
He also said the posts, which also provoked others to threaten to bash him, have had a "devastating impact" on his wellbeing.
"After four decades (in photography) I am now going back to school to study law and criminology so in six to eight years I can help people who have been in my situation."