Illegally claiming $28,185 in benefits

Last updated 13:53 31/01/2013

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Emma Jane McKenzie, 23, and her partner Tony Carl Mattock, 28, both of Blenheim, were sentenced in the Blenheim District Court after admitting illegally claiming $28,185 in benefits over two years.

McKenzie was sentenced to six months' community detention and Mattock to three months' community detention and 180 hours' community work. Mattock was also ordered to repay $3500.

McKenzie admitted four charges of dishonestly using a document to gain financial advantage and one of obtaining money by deception.

Judge Tony Zohrab said the couple were struggling to provide for their two young children when McKenzie began claiming benefits as a solo mother. Both were first-time offenders who were remorseful, assessed as low risks of offending again, and had made arrangements to repay as much of the money as they could, he said. McKenzie was unable to do community work because of her childcare commitments, he said. He told the pair they would be sent to prison if they offended again.

Richard William Couper, 46, a logging contractor, of Blenheim, admitted a charge of threatening behaviour and was ordered to pay $300 in emotional harm reparation to the victim.

Prosecutor Graham Single said Couper was at home when he got into an argument with a friend who objected to the way he was treating family members. Couper then took a child from the woman's arms and began yelling obscenities at her so close to her face he was spitting on her and she fled the house fearing for her safety, Mr Single said.

Defence lawyer John Holdaway said Couper accepted that he behaved stupidly at the time.

Jonathan Shane Dornan, 17, a vineyard worker of Renwick, admitted possession of drug utensils and theft of a barbecue and was ordered to pay $250 emotional harm reparation to his victim. Mr Single said Dornan, who was living in Palmerston North at the time, had been having a party at home when he went next door and stole his neighbour's barbecue and locked it in his garage. When police searched the property they found numerous spotting knives used for cannabis consumption and other drug utensils, he said. Defence lawyer Philip Watson said Dornan had moved to Marlborough for work. Judge Zohrab ordered the drug utensils destroyed and told Dornan the payment was an apology for his behaviour.

Glen Edward Vaughan, 23, a chef, of Blenheim, admitted a charge of possession of cannabis and was sentenced to 60 hours' community work. Mr Single said police were at Vaughan's house when they questioned him about using cannabis and he handed over one tinny. They also found some cannabis seeds at the house, he said.

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Zane Daniel Roberts, 25, of Portage, admitted a charge of sustained loss of traction and was disqualified from driving for six months and ordered to complete 40 hours' community work. Mr Single said Roberts had been seen by police speeding on Himatangi Beach near Palmerston North on November 2, weaving on the sand close to a whitebaiter, before sliding his car in a circle and driving back the way he came again weaving close to the whitebaiter. When he was spoken to by police Roberts became aggressive and abusive, he said. Mr Holdaway said there had been a misunderstanding as Roberts did not realise the beach was a public road.

- The Marlborough Express

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