Fraudster’s victims will be repaid

The victims of convicted fraudster Ann-Marie Kathrine Smith will get their money back, but her sentencing has been delayed another month.

When she is sentenced in the Christchurch District Court on June 2, incredibly it will be her 14th court appearance on these two charges of obtaining by deception.

The delays have been caused by not guilty pleas, non-appearances, warrants to arrest, an appeal to the High Court for continued suppression, an unsuccessful bail application, and now a further remand to get a home detention address checked.

At least five different defence counsel have been involved so far.

Now, the latest lawyer, Glenn Dixon of the Public Defence Service, says he “won’t allow anyone else’s DNA to get on the file”, and Judge Stephen O’Driscoll is going to hold onto the court file until the end as well.

He says he will sentence 30-year-old Smith on June 2 no matter what. That has been said before.

In spite of a history of non-appearances and arrest warrants, she was granted bail again today after being remanded in custody for the last 10 days for another attempt at sentencing.

Mr Dixon said the remand in custody had been a stern lesson for Smith. “It has been her first taste of the cold steel and frankly, she doesn’t want to go back,” he told the judge.

Sentencing had earlier been delayed for Smith to come up with money to repay the $3495 she conned out of two woman victims – one a stranger she convinced to loan her $3000 after meeting her at a bank and telling her a made-up story of family woes.

Smith’s partner turned up at court with a wad of $4500 cash in his pocket today, and Mr Dixon told the judge: “He is willing to tender that to the court if she is able to go home today on bail or home detention.”

Judge O’Driscoll adjourned the hearing for a few minutes for the reparations to be paid into the Ministry of Justice account at the court office. That was done. It will cover the amount of money in the two charges, plus emotional harm reparations that may be ordered for the victims.

However, the judge made it clear no deal had been done about Smith’s fate, and all options were still open for her sentencing on June 2.

The delay will allow Community Probation to check that a suggested Wainoni address is suitable for home detention, and for Smith to do more of the 127 hours of community work outstanding from a 150-hour sentence imposed last June.

The current charges pre-date that sentencing and the judge has asked for the sentencing notes from the June 2016 session where she received community work and community detention.

Judge O’Driscoll warned her against any breaches of bail or reoffending during the remand, and said she needed to get on with the community work sentence or the court would see her as unsuitable for a community-based sentence.

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