Trial halts after attempted poisoning charge dropped

ACourt House-Sept-2013-07 woman has admitted charges of armed burglary and assault with intent to injure after the Crown dropped a charge of attempted poisoning as her Christchurch District Court trial was due to begin.

The woman Natalae Grace McAllister, 24, was discharged on the attempted poisoning charge by Judge Alistair Garland and remanded on bail for sentencing on November 9.

Crown prosecutor Kathy Basire said the Crown would offer no evidence on a charge of causing a woman to take seratine and nurofen with intent to cause grievous bodily harm.

Judge Garland dismissed the jury before the three-day trial began, telling them that the resolution of the case was “a late and unexpected event”.

“Please don’t think that your attendance has not been worthwhile,” he told the jurors. “In fact it is the reason why this trial has resolved.”

The fact that they had attended and been ready to sit as jurors had brought resolution because it tended “tends to concentrate the mind of some people at the last minute”.

Judge Garland ordered a pre-sentence report with an assessment of McAllister’s suitability for home detention. He said home detention “might possibly be optimistic” because aggravated burglary carried a maximum of 14 years imprisonment.

The incident arose from friction after a break-up of McAllister’s relationship with a man who had a child with her.

In October and November 2014 McAllister sent threatening text messages to her ex-partner’s new partner. The Crown said the text exchanges became “heated and vitriolic”.

On the morning of November 18, 2014, McAllister went to the address where the ex-partner was living with the woman. She knocked on the door and then hid from view beside the door.

When the woman opened the door, McAllister burst in, punched her and grabbed her around the throat. She pulled her to the ground by her hair and then choked her.

The woman fought back and managed to stand up. McAllister forced her into the corner of a room, punched her repeatedly on the back of the head and kicked her several times in the face and stomach.

When the assault ended, she went into the kitchen and took a kitchen knife with a 185mm blade.

As the woman sat on the bed recovering from her injuries, McAllister held the knife to her face and told her to get into the boot of her car. She threatened to assault her if she saw her again.

McAllister then told her to pack up her stuff and get out of the house. The woman ran to a dairy where she called police and an ambulance.

The woman received serious bruising and swelling to her face and head, a sore back and right arm, and bruising and scratching to her throat.

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