A woman who stole funds put aside by her family to provide for the day-to-day care and needs of her intellectually disabled sister, was granted permanent name suppression in the Christchurch District Court today.
Judge John Strettell told the 67-year-old that as a result of her offending her sister went without, was not living in sufficient appropriate accommodation, and her well-being was not cared for to an appropriate level.
The 67-year-old was sentenced on a charge dishonestly using her sister’s bankcard to take $100,000 out of her bank account, and term deposits.
Defence counsel Simon Shamy said the woman had paid back some of the money, and she and her partner were going to sell their home to pay the rest.
He said she was still close to her sister, and was at a loss to explain why in her 60’s she suddenly started stealing the money for gambling.
The victim did not understand what had happened, and was upset about people criticising her sister, he said.
Judge Strettell said the offending was a tragedy for the family, and was an “astonishingly and reprehensible act of breach of trust”.
The offending between May 2009, and February 2015, involved 450 transactions.
He said the woman’s pre-sentence report said she didn’t have a gambling addiction, and she told them others encouraged her to use the funds and benefitted from them as well.
He sentenced the woman to five months’ home detention, and said there was still a degree of dependency between her and her sister, and she was still a person of importance in her sister’s life.
He said publication of her name would cause grief to the sister. The new holder of the power of attorney asked that the woman not go to prison, and be granted name suppression.
The judge also ordered reparation of the remaining $61,000.