'Diplomat Dan' sentenced to more than three years' jail over assault of wife, splashing acid on police (2024)

Daniel Victor Gandini has "some very strange ideas" about the world and his place in it, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court has said.

In the Burnie Supreme Court on Thursday, Chief Justice Alan Blow sentenced Gandini, who had previously told the court he "strongly prefers" to be known as Diplomat Dan, to a "substantial" jail term for crimes committed at his Port Sorell home.

After representing himself during the three-week trial, Gandini was found guilty by a jury on Monday of two assaults of his ex-wife and later splashing a corrosive acid on four special operations group police officers who had come to arrest him.

'Diplomat Dan' sentenced to more than three years' jail over assault of wife, splashing acid on police (1)

After being locked out of the house with their children on the morning of July 8, 2021, the complainant called police, resulting in an 11-hour stand off as Gandini refused to leave the home.

In sentencing, the judge said he had referred to the 44-year-old Gandini throughout the trial as "Dan" to "minimise tensions" and would continue to do so in sentencing.

Giving evidence during the trial, Gandini's former psychologist Michael Marriott said his former patient's identity was "not rational" and "a peculiarity of his own making".

While questioning Senior Constable Bobby Gray during the trial, Gandini said he was on a "diplomatic mission" empowered by the Vienna Convention, of which the officer and Commissioner Donna Adams were aware.

Senior Constable Gray denied any knowledge of such a mission.

"It was clear from things Dan said … that he has some very strange ideas about his identity, his status, the law, and his treatment by others," Chief Justice Blow said during sentencing.

'Diplomat Dan' sentenced to more than three years' jail over assault of wife, splashing acid on police (2)

Moral culpability for crimes 'substantially reduced,' judge finds

The judge spoke at length about Gandini's psychological health and said during the events of July 8, 2021 his "mental functioning was impaired" and ultimately concluded that his moral culpability for his crimes was "substantially reduced".

However, he said Gandini would be able to access necessary supports while in prison.

Chief Justice Blow also said the defendant had "kept out of trouble" for 19 months since being released from custody on bail for these charges in November 2022, and that he had "maintained his self-control throughout the trial, despite there being some stressful moments".

In discussing Gandini's crimes, Chief Justice Blow said the two assaults against his wife involved a "very low level of violence", but that the children were present, and the incident would have been "very distressing" for them.

The family has moved interstate since the incident, and the Port Sorell house has been sold, but the proceeds of that sale are frozen due to ongoing family law court disputes.

The jury heard evidence throughout the trial that the complainant was also highly distressed by Gandini's actions and worried about his mental health when she called police.

Gandini described her as "hysterical" and claimed she had manufactured a bomb hoax to attract the large police response that followed.

The jury heard the triple-0 call in which she said Gandini had previously said he would be "ready for war" if police ever came for him.

The judge said the first police officer on the scene also determined he had access to explosive materials and experience in the mining industry.

Subsequently, a "very large number of police" including the bomb response squad, special operations group officers, drone operators and negotiators arrived at the scene.

Chief Justice Blow considered the crimes against the four police officers to be more serious, and that it was significant they were simply "doing their duty" in attempting to arrest Gandini.

"Plainly the throwing of acid… was a very dangerous thing to do, [which] could well have… done far more damage," the judge said.

The judge said only one of the four officers was physically harmed and made a full recovery, but that he was convinced Gandini had thrown the corrosive acid at police twice in quick succession.

However, he also determined that Gandini had committed the crimes to prevent his arrest and "scare them away" rather than seriously injure them.

The judge said none of the police officers informed Gandini that they were attempting to arrest him for family violence allegations during the incident, which the defendant had also said throughout the trial.

Gandini sentenced to three years, six months in jail

The defendant was taken into custody on the night of July 8, 2021, where he remained for 15 months on these charges, and so the judge backdated his sentence to January 22, 2023.

Gandini was convicted and sentenced to three years, six months in jail for the six charges.

Chief Justice Blow said he would order the "shortest possible non-parole period" of 21 months and told Gandini he would be eligible for parole in October.

Making sentencing submissions on Tuesday, Gandini maintained he had never intended to hurt anyone and asked the judge to consider a lenient sentence such as community service.

"I just hope that whatever you intend to give me is not going to be so severe that it will be detrimental to me trying to move on and rebuild my life," he said.

Gandini waved to two supporters in the back of the court as he was taken back into custody.

"Thanks for your help. I'll talk to you soon," he told them.


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'Diplomat Dan' sentenced to more than three years' jail over assault of wife, splashing acid on police (2024)
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