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Tenant avoids jail after 'nasty' attempt to blackmail landlord

tenancy deposit

A tenant who threatened to share a naked video of his former landlord if he wasn’t given back a cash deposit has been handed a 12-month suspended jail sentence.

Onisi Burekama took a video of the man lying naked in his own bed without permission last July and then sent him a clip of the video accompanied by messages threatening to share the footage if the landlord didn’t give him back a £260 deposit, The Belfast Telegraph reports.

Belfast Crown Court (pictured) heard that the landlord told police he was being blackmailed by his ex-tenant, a 39-year-old Fijian national with an Army record. Burekama admitted the offence and told officers he had expected his deposit back after renting property from the victim.


Burekama said he was in financial difficulties at the time and had been drinking when he sent the video, which he thought was funny.

He admitted making an unwarranted demand for £260 with menaces and sending his former landlord a message apologising for what he had done the following day.

Burekama’s defence barrister said the offending behaviour involved his client “seeking recovery of a rental deposit”, and although acknowledging his actions were “unpleasant and unsavoury in nature”, said the threat was short-lived and done while under the influence of alcohol.

Branding the blackmail offence as “nasty”, Judge Donna McColgan KC said she had taken further defence submissions into consideration which set out Burekama’s former career in the Army where he served tours in Afghanistan and Kosovo before leaving in 2014. She also accepted that Burekama - who now works as a delivery driver - had expressed genuine remorse for his actions.

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