Christchurch woman stole $15,000 from deaf uncle after lying about bank loan
Serena Jayne Adamson told her deaf uncle his loan application was declined, but pocketed the $15,000 credit and blew it at pubs and hotels.
The 35-year-old's appeal against her conviction was thrown out by the Court of Appeal last week, after she claimed a miscarriage of justice.
Adamson's offending happened in 2012 after her deaf uncle decided he wanted to move to Australia.
The 35-year-old, who was working as a real estate agent at the time, was asked by her uncle to assist him in letting his Christchurch home.
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Adamson's uncle, whose impairment meant he had trouble dealing with bank staff, gave his niece control of his bank account and asked her to assist him in obtaining a loan.
He wanted a loan so he could buy a car once he arrived in Australia and to meet some other expenses before leaving New Zealand.
Adamson told her uncle the bank had declined the loan, but the bank did make a loan offer of $15,000 following an application for a loan for that amount.
The bank account was credited with $15,000 on October 19, 2012.
The same day, Adamson transferred $14,600 from her uncle's account to her personal account.
Of that, $4600 was then transferred to another of Adamson's accounts.
Her bank statements for the following weeks showed regular withdrawals of hundreds of dollars at local pubs, hotels and the Christchurch Casino.
Adamson's uncle said he had no knowledge of his niece's actions.
"He said he did not find out about the loan advance until some months after he had moved to Australia in December 2012," the Court of Appeal decision stated.
Adamson was charged with using a loan document dishonestly and without a claim of right with intent to obtain a pecuniary advantage.
She was found guilty in the Christchurch District Court by Judge David Saunders, and later appealed the verdict.
At the appeal hearing on March 13, Adamson argued Judge Saunders misdirected the jury before it came to its verdict.
"It was submitted that, given the charge, the Judge should have directed the jury to consider whether the Crown had established that Ms Adamson did not have any claim of right in relation to her use of the loan documents."
The Court of Appeal judges agreed a misdirection was given, but were satisfied the error did not affect the jury's decision or result in a miscarriage of justice.
An application for an extension of time to appeal the decision was granted.