Daniel Houghton subjected his girlfriend to a 15-25 minute ordeal, according to the court. (Myspace: MisterExploder)
An award-winning Australian filmmaker is facing a possible prison sentence over what a Perth judge described as "shameful" and "astonishing" for his ex-girlfriend and police, who were summoned when he did not let her leave the house.
- Daniel Houghton faced court convicted of five counts, including deprivation of liberty
- He grabbed her girlfriend by her arms and threw her on the bed during the incident.
- His lawyer said he was "extremely embarrassed" by what he had done
Daniel Houghton, who also takes the names of Jimmy Jack and Jimmy the Exploder, was best known for his work on the 2008 Australian film The Black Balloon, starring Toni Collette, Erik Thomson and Gemma Ward.
That same year, Houghton, 39, and co-writer and director of the film, Elissa Down, signed the Australian Film Institute Award for Best Original Screenplay along with several prestigious international awards.
More than a decade later, Houghton found himself on the dock of WA District Court today, after being convicted on five counts, including deprivation of liberty, disorderly conduct, obstruction of the police and breach of his bail conditions.
Stand-off at the parents' house
The offenses stemmed from an incident in January 2017, when, after arguing with his 20-year-old girlfriend, Houghton refused to let her leave her room at her parents' home in Applecross.
The court was told the order lasted from 15 to 25 minutes, during which Houghton grabbed the woman by the arms, pushed her to the bed, threw her bag against the wall and began pulling her own hair.
The woman was able to send a message to her mother, who called the police, and when two policemen arrived at the house, Houghton became aggressive with them, demanding to know what the victim was saying and telling the police to leave the property.
He also recorded it on his phone.
At one point he sat in the middle of the driveway to keep the cops from taking out his partner's car, and when he repeatedly refused to calm down, he was handcuffed and placed in the back of a police van.
Houghton won an award from the Australian Film Institute for his work on The Black Balloon. (AAP: Tracey Nearmy)
Prosecutor Gabrielle Clarke said Houghton started screaming and kicking the sides of the van before becoming what she described as "passive resistance" at the Fremantle police station.
He refused to answer questions and had to be carried by four policemen to a cell.
Houghton was later released on bail on a condition that he did not contact the woman, but three weeks later he approached her and one of her friends at a bar in Northbridge.
Houghton was "out of control", says the judge
Defense attorney Wendy Hughes said Houghton was "extremely embarrassed and embarrassed" about what he had done, and has since sought psychological counseling that he continued along with a course of anger management.
She said Houghton was working in the United States, but her convictions meant that he would be unlikely to get a visa to return to the country.
Houghton also won a Crystal Bear Award at the Berlin International Film Festival in 2008. (Myspace: MisterExploder)
Judge Ronald Birmingham said Houghton's recording of what happened to the police "showed a person well and truly out of control."
"I was amazed at the patience shown by the cops, given their behavior at the time and the way he talked to them. They went beyond the call of duty," he said.
"For him to be dispatched would not have been remarkable, the cops really were very exceptional."
Judge Birmingham described Houghton's conduct as unacceptable, saying he was "a 40-year-old man dating a 20-year-old woman." [who] behaved shamefully. "
"He's had considerable success in life with the Black Balloon, it's credit worthy … but behaving like him with this past is amazing," he said.
Houghton wiped tears when Judge Birmingham told him that the "standard stance" would normally be an immediate term of imprisonment, but he said there were factors he had to consider before determining whether the deadline could be stayed.
Houghton has been released on bail and will be sentenced later this month.
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