Grace Tame’s abuser may change plea on menacing charge

Ethan James |

Nicolaas Ockert Bester is alleged to have made public posts on social media directed at Grace Tame.
Nicolaas Ockert Bester is alleged to have made public posts on social media directed at Grace Tame.

Nicolaas Ockert Bester, who sexually abused former Australian of the Year Grace Tame when she was a child, could change his not guilty plea to charges he harassed her online. 

The 71-year-old briefly appeared on Thursday in Hobart Magistrates Court where Magistrate Chris Webster expressed frustration at delays in the case. 

Bester is alleged to have made public posts on social media in relation to and directed at Ms Tame in April, July and August of 2022. 

Nicolaas Ockert Bester outside Hobart Magistrates Court
Bester counted the number of journalists in the room and described them as rats. (Ethan James/AAP PHOTOS)

He pleaded not guilty in March 2023 to three counts of using a carriage service to menace, harass or cause offence.

Bester’s lawyer Fabiano Cangelosi indicated the case would progress to a sentence indication hearing, in which defendants are given an idea of potential punishments if they change their plea to guilty.

Mr Cangelosi said Bester had made an application for legal aid and was awaiting a report. 

Mr Webster adjourned the matter, which has previously been delayed to obtain medical reports about Bester, to April 19. 

“This has been listed before me about five or six times. Just wasting my time really,” Mr Webster said. 

Grace Tame (file image)
Bester, a former teacher, was jailed in 2011 for abusing Grace Tame when she was a student. (Loic Le Guilly/AAP PHOTOS)

Before the magistrate was in court, Bester counted the number of journalists in the room and described them as rats.

A police prosecutor asked him not to make any comments because it was disrespectful. 

Bester, a former teacher, was charged by police over the alleged online harassment in October 2022. 

He was convicted and sentenced in 2011 to two years and 10 months in jail for abusing Ms Tame when she was a student at his school and for possessing child exploitation material.

He served one year and nine months.

Ms Tame was the 2021 Australian of the Year and has advocated for abuse survivors.

1800 RESPECT (1800 737 732)

National Sexual Abuse and Redress Support Service 1800 211 028

AAP