Home detention sentence breached for sex work

Court House-07A woman who was doing sex work at a brothel in Christchurch while she was on home detention and wearing the required electronic bracelet has been jailed for two years six months.

Forty-year-old Andrea Virginia Rochelle De La Hunt, who is also known as Phipps, has admitted lying to her probation officer and breaching her home detention sentence.

De La Hunt admitted four charges of dishonestly accessing a computer system by emailing false details to the probation officer to get time away from home detention for her prostitution work, by saying she was working for a health and beauty company. She also admitted a breach of home detention.

She has been in custody ahead of her Crown sentencing by Judge Alistair Garland in the Christchurch District Court today.

De La Hunt was sentenced by Judge Garland on November 29, 2011, when she got 12 months of home detention for a series of fraud offences. The court was told that she had ripped off people, employers, and companies for $35,538.

The term has now expired but inquiries have turned up offending by De La Hunt while she was living under home detention at an address in Coalgate in rural Canterbury.

Crown prosecutor Kathy Basire said: “The defendant not only has a long history of fraud but she has a propensity and ability to able to manipulate people to gain her own ends.”

Defence counsel Nicola Pointer told the court De La Hunt said that she was not employed as a beautician by the woman she had named to probation, but as an escort, and had sent emails in that woman’s name to avoid probation meeting her.

“She knew she would never have got leave if she had told the truth,” said Judge Garland.

He said the Crown had a statement from the woman named, who said she had not employed De La Hunt at all, but De La Hunt had rented a downstairs bedroom at a Christchurch address from her, for her sex work.

De La Hunt had sent a series of false emails to probation, apparently from the woman who she said was employing her. Checks showed they were actually sent from De La Hunt’s own email address.

Her dishonesty meant that the home detention sentence was largely ineffectual. “Your obvious motivation was the benefit you derived from being able to do what you pleased from 8.30am to 7pm on four or later five days a week while on a sentence of home detention.”

She got away with the offending for seven months.

He noted that De La Hunt had 130 fraud convictions since her first court appearance in 2001, as well as a conviction for attempted murder. She was seen as a high risk of reoffending.

The probation service said she was not suitable for home detention and a longer term of imprisonment should be considered.

The offending was comparable to attempting to defeat the course of justice. Her past history for dishonesty warranted an uplift in her sentence, but he also reduced the sentence because of her guilty pleas.

The name of the purported employer, her company, and her email address were suppressed.

In 2002, De La Hunt was jailed for a bizarre series of offences that involved trying to cover up her thefts when she worked as a personal banker in Auckland.

She took $52,000 from one account, and forged documents to try to draw $165,000 from a customer’s account.

Bank officials spoke to her and set up a meeting for the following week. In the meantime, she laced her partner’s dinner with about 16 sleeping tablets, but they apparently made the meal taste bad so he didn’t finish it.

She later put lavender oil on his pillow to send him to sleep and poured petrol through the lounge and up the stairs. The fire caused extensive scorching but nobody was hurt.

She was jailed on charges of attempted murder, theft as a servant, forgery, and arson but the sentence was cut to two-and-a-half years on appeal when the Court of Appeal ruled that the sentencing judge had not made sufficient allowance for her bipolar affective disorder.

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