Reformed addict granted home detention

A Nelson mother has been granted home detention after a noticeable change of attitude since she menaced a Christchurch drug dealer who had sold rock salt instead of crystal meth.

People have noticed Ursula Addie Case’s improved appearance since she was arrested 18 months ago.

Defence counsel Serina Bailey said the 33-year-old had been “clean” of drugs since the arrest in December 2015.

In her video-interview with police, she appeared to be severely affected by drugs or alcohol or both, Judge Bernadette Farnan said as Case was sentenced in a video-link-up court session.

“You presented as someone who had a clear drug addiction problem,” said the judge.

She had appeared to be skinny and unwell – the signs of serious addiction – but both the judge and a headmaster who wrote about her care for her children at school, remarked on her improved appearance.

Case was in the Nelson District Court with Judge Farnan, while the Crown and defence counsel made their submissions from the Christchurch Court.

Case had been found guilty in March, at a trial in Christchurch, of assaulting the drug dealer with intent to rob her.

Three offenders reckoned the woman dealer had previously sold them rock salt instead of methamphetamine, and then made contact over Facebook to lure her to an Armagh Street house where she was threatened to try to recover the $300. The judge found it proved that Case had held a taser near the victim’s face.

The other two offenders pleaded guilty separately and were jailed: Chad Adam Carrington, 25, for two years, and Casey Marie Chamberlain, 22, for one year ten months.

At an appearance in the Chamberlain case, her lawyer Craig Ruane told the court the dealer had sold rock salt “to a group for whom the Disputes Tribunal is not the first or most obvious place of recourse”.

After her arrest, Case was held in custody for nine months – the equivalent of an 18-month jail term.

Earlier this year, she was arrested on charges of possession of a pipe for using drugs, and possession of an offensive weapon.

The items were found in a car she was travelling in. She denied being in possession, but pleaded guilty to the charges yesterday when police downgraded the weapon charge to one of having a knife in a public place. This enabled the judge to deal with everything at the same time.

Judge Farnan noted the time she had spent in custody and on restrictive bail conditions, and the rehabilitative work she had done. She was now living with her family again.

She sentenced Case to two-and-a-half months of home detention, with special conditions that she attend rehabilitative programmes and undertake parental responsibilities as required, not possess or consume alcohol or drugs. The special conditions will continue for six months after the home detention ends.

Case continues to deny using the taser to threaten the drug dealer.


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