Businesswoman granted suppression at sentencing

Court House-doorwayA Christchurch woman prosecuted for a document fraud offence related to the huge LWR collapse dabbed at her eyes and thanked the judge after being fined $2000 but granted a suppression order that will let her stay in business.

Christchurch District Court Judge Jane Farish said the businesswoman was still entitled to trade on her good name, and she would be allowed final name suppression for “unique and compelling reasons”.

The suppression means the 65-year-old  will be able to continue working with business contacts overseas in an area where her defence counsel Allister Davis said: “Name and reputation is everything.”

The woman pleaded guilty to one charge of dishonestly using a document, relating to her recovery of a $300,000 loan she had made earlier to LWR.

She pleaded guilty on the fifth day of a trial in a prosecution brought by the Serious Fraud Office.

Mr Davis said the woman, a first offender, was not seen as a risk of re-offending. The offence was “an aberration created by circumstances”.

During the trial, she had spent some time sitting in the cells at the Court House, he said.

Judge Farish said the offending had not led to a loss to the bank. It was difficult to work out if there had been a loss to anyone.

Mr Davis said the woman was continuing in business and would be able to take out a small mortgage on property she owned to pay a fine.

The woman today abandoned a bid for a discharge without conviction, and the defence and the Crown agreed that a fine was appropriate.

The woman dabbed at her eyes, as she stood in the dock, while Judge Farish referred to her family circumstances. The judge said the offending was serious but was “mitigated significantly by the events”.

She imposed a $2000 fine on the charge of dishonestly using a document to obtain a financial advantage. She had been discharged on several other charges after he guilty plea on that charge at the trial.

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