Laidley spared conviction for stalking

Georgie Moore
·2-min read

Former AFL coach Dani Laidley has been spared a conviction for stalking a woman, leaving flowers on her car and calling her 43 times in one day.

The 53-year-old formerly known as Dean loitered outside and took photos of the woman's Melbourne home and also attended her workplace over a week between April and May.

Laidley was spared a conviction in Melbourne Magistrates Court on Wednesday after pleading guilty to stalking.

She was instead placed on an adjourned undertaking requiring her to be of good behaviour for 18 months.

Laidley bombarded her victim with messages including: "I want to walk you down the aisle. I want to make you the happiest person in the world".

"Let me in. We are meant to be together."

Laidley attended the woman's workplace and left flowers on her car before calling her 43 times.

Lawyer Rob Stary said the former footy coach's life had been in turmoil at the time.

She was "immersed in a drug-addled culture" and undergoing a gender transition that began in December last year.

The court was told Laidley had since acknowledged her actions were wrong, and committed to rehabilitation and working through her personal issues.

Mr Stary also said Laidley know wanted to help the broader community understand issues transgender people faced.

Former North Melbourne chairman James Brayshaw was among those who provided character references for Laidley.

She was described as a resilient and remarkable person who appeared eager to embark on the second stage of her life with a confidence and purpose that was perhaps lacking in the first.

Laidley was a 1996 premiership player for North and coached them from 2003-09.

A mug shot of her in a blonde wig and dress following her arrest in May was shared among police and leaked to the media.

This and the subsequent media attention on her caused Laidley immense distress, Mr Stary said.

Seven police employees were suspended and another six transferred to other duties over the leak.

Assistant Commissioner Shane Patton described it at the time as appalling and unlawful criminal conduct.

Last week, police offered to drop a drug charge for methamphetamine Laidley had when she was arrested.

But this offer was contingent on Laidley writing a letter of thanks to the office who recommended her to the court's diversion program.