Judge questions whether false quake claimant is ‘deluded’

Road cones-red zoneA judge has raised the question of whether Christchurch landlord Sally Mengtung Ye could be “deluded” and whether he should call for a psychiatric report before her sentencing on fraud charges.

Ye, 50, also known as Bayliss, was found guilty at a judge-alone trial of 34 fraud charges involving false claims to EQC for emergency quake repairs on properties she was managing.

She had been on bail for sentencing in the Christchurch District Court by Judge John Macdonald today, but new defence counsel Paul Johnson immediately asked for a two-week delay.

He said that she had not understood the system of home detention at the time her pre-sentence report was prepared but it had now been explained to her and she would agree to the conditions involved. He asked for the delay so that she could be assessed for a home detention sentence.

She had also agreed to pay reparations of $2000 immediately and more at a rate of $100 a week. That rate could be reviewed if she got a job during the remand period.

Judge Macdonald said he was not attracted to the idea at all. He produced recent email correspondence between Ye and the courts.

“Is she deluded?” he asked Mr Johnson. “Should I be asking for a report under the Criminal Procedures (Mentally Impaired Persons) Act?”

“I don’t think so, sir,” Mr Johnson replied.

She had referred in the emails to a conspiracy between people involved in the prosecution and had now sent photographs of the damage, and said she had a suitcase of documents she was not able to present at the trial, the judge said.

Mr Johnson argued that home detention should be considered. She provided care for an aged mother, and she was scheduled for surgery herself. Her offer of reparation was also a factor.

Judge Macdonald said he would reluctantly delay sentencing for the home detention report, and further remanded Ye on bail to September 26. He did not ask for a psychiatric report, in the end.

“If will help her chances if she pays her reparation,” he said.

Ye had denied all the charges of dishonestly using documents – false invoices, many with her notations about payments made – as well as one charge of attempting to pervert the course of justice by sending false documents to the court. She acknowledged in evidence that one invoice had been signed off in the name of her cat.

Judge Macdonald convicted her on all the fraud charges but found her not guilty of attempting to pervert the course of justice.

After Ye’s series of claims, the EQC said that $12,895 had been paid out and $14,895 remained unpaid.

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