An aspiring rapper whose obscene and “terrorising” message to media personality Yumi Stynes landed him in court has been issued a stern warning after avoiding jail.
Eli Engwicht pleaded guilty to using a carriage service to menace, harass, or offend after the Australian author complained to Sydney police about an Instagram message.
The 23-year-old told Ms Stynes he wanted to see her “torn up limb by limb” and “tortured for hours” following the release of her controversial book, Welcome to Sex.
During sentencing, magistrate Daniel Covington said Engwicht could have potentially crossed the threshold for a custodial sentence had he not undertaken rehab.
“The facts are not a good read … as we go through life people are going to say things that upset us,” Mr Covington told Downing Centre Local Court on Wednesday.
“The defence material includes a letter in which he shows some insight into his offending, his sobriety … and mental health treatment undertaken since August.
“He is looking at further treatment and expressed remorse. He has completed all sessions of the merit program and in my view their report is a positive one.”
Mr Covington sentenced Engwicht to a 12-month community corrections order. He is also barred from contacting Ms Stynes for two years.
Engwicht will also be prohibited from taking drugs for that period, with a similar order for alcohol abstinence dropped following objections by his lawyer.
“I should note, he is a rapper. I do not know if he drinks alcohol in the course of his employment,” his lawyer said of Engwicht, who goes by the stage name “Lil Swift”.
Ms Stynes’ book, which is intended for children aged 10 and older, generated controversy for its unfiltered discussions of topics such as oral and anal sex and gender identity.
The book was co-authored by Dr Melissa Kang, a specialist in adolescent health, but was pulled from the shelves of Big W and Target after staff members were reportedly abused.
Court documents state Ms Stynes received a “large amount of messages involving harassment” on her Instagram “yumichild” following a campaign to have the book removed.
In his message, Engwicht told Ms Stynes that he would have “no qualms” about violently sexually assaulting her and a family member and called her a “dirty piece of wasted life”.
Ms Stynes told police she felt “terrorised, disgusted and threatened” by Engwicht’s message, which she said was sexually violent in nature and a direct threat to her personal body.
She told police she feared the message's sender, later revealed to be Engwicht, was going to try to find her. She reported the message after identifying that Engwicht lived in Newtown.
He was arrested two days later. Engwicht admitted to sending the messages, telling police he “he didn't agree with the contents of the book as he found it offensive”.
Leaving court last month, he told reporters he had been “doing a lot of self-work” after heading down a “bad path” and he was “very sorry to the person I offended”.
“And after this is all done, I’m going to use my music and my voice to show the youth and people in my situation that you can overcome tough times,” he said.
Leaving court on Wednesday, Engwicht struck a more celebratory tone, telling NCA NewsWire “mashallah”, an Arabic phrase meaning “God has willed it”.