A former parliamentary reporter has been convicted on fraud charges after he took money from the Press Gallery account more than 100 times during his eight years as treasurer.
It was this extended period of offending that dashed Ian Llewellyn's hopes of getting a discharge without conviction, despite him depositing much of what he took throughout the offending.
Llewellyn was treasurer between 2002 and 2010, and took about $14,000 - from ATMs and for purchasing property - during that time.
The Raumati man, who was a reporter with the New Zealand Press Association, stepped down from his treasurer role after the account discrepancies were discovered in 2010.
Llewellyn's lawyer Douglas Ewen told Judge Mike Behrens QC in Wellington District Court today that the consequences of a conviction outweighed his offending, which was mitigated by the fact he repaid the money throughout.
He never had the skills to carry out the role of treasurer. ''It was a job no-one really wants, all responsibility and no thanks.'' And it happened to coincide with a time when he was ''in a position of personal stress financially'', so he used the account like an overdraft.
''He is not saying that he did not do wrong.''
The offending had been ''hanging over his head'' for a number of years, and the stress had a significant effect on him. At one point during sentencing Llewellyn was seen visibly shaking and unwell in the dock until a seat was provided to him.
Mr Ewen said his employability as a freelance journalist had taken a significant hit already, and a conviction would worsen that.
An application for New Zealand citizenship that had been on hold while matters were before the court could also be affected by a conviction, he said.
But Judge Behrens said his application for citizenship was a ''late decision'' he could not help think was something to do with his predicament.
He convicted Llewellyn and ordered him to repay about $3000 to Price Waterhouse Coopers, for an audit they had to conduct on the account.
Outside court, Llewellyn's comment was simply, ''I'm sorry.''
- The Dominion Post
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