Sentencing delayed by positive drug test

Sentencing of a woman who scammed elderly victims – including a 95-year-old – has been delayed so that a judge can find out more about a positive drug test during a home detention term.

The positive test for methamphetamine from 35-year-old mother Reiana Janine Hilton came while she was serving a home detention sentence imposed in December for shoplifting.

Since then, Hilton has admitted four charges of causing loss by deception and one of dishonestly attempting to take a bank card.

She was one of a group scamming elderly victims out of their bank cards and PIN numbers and then cleaning out their bank accounts. The whole group targeted about 30 victims, and extracted a total of about $270,000 from their bank accounts. Hilton’s victims were aged from 74 to 95.

Defence counsel Karen Feltham said Hilton had received very little from the offending, but Judge Jane Farish said she did not accept the defence assertion that she was “a very minor cog”. Judge Farish said: “I don’t think she was as minor as you want me to appreciate.”

Community Probation has now taken action to cancel the home detention sentence because of the alleged drugs breach, but Mrs Feltham said Hilton contested that cancellation and the case was due for a case review hearing on June 25. Hilton was adamant she had not taken drugs since before she went into a rehabilitation programme last September.

Judge Farish said, “Relapse is part of recovery.” If the latest test was a one-off, and there were no repeats, she would not be so concerned. But in the meantime she has remanded the remaining charges to the case review session on June 25.

She wants to know more about the drug test situation before that hearing, which may set a new sentencing date.

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