Jail looms for breast-feeding mum

LYN HUMPHREYS
Last updated 05:00 30/07/2013

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A woman arrested at gunpoint during a drugs bust in New Plymouth gave birth the same day, it can be revealed.

Maxien Chand, 23, was in her eighth month of pregnancy when she was caught after delivering $40,000 worth of methamphetamine to a New Plymouth man.

She wept on the shoulder of her partner and co-accused Halen Ryder, 27, when a jury returned guilty verdicts in the New Plymouth District Court yesterday.

About 25 New Plymouth police were involved in an elaborate stakeout of Tommy White's Fitzroy home early on August 24.

At 7am armed offender squad members arrested the two Chand sisters Maxien and Jessica with their respective partners, Halen Ryder, 27 and Daniel Pue, 21.

The group had travelled down from Auckland in a Jaguar with the drugs.

Maxien Chand's Guess handbag had in it $40,000 that the Crown said was payment from White who had earlier admitted to his role.

Charges against the younger sister, Jessica, were later dropped.

The girls' father, Aucklander Oscar Chand, 42, was the mastermind, the Crown told the jury last week, and Maxien Chand and Ryder acted as his drug mules.

Pue, who owned the Jaguar, was not charged with dealing but faced a count of illegally possessing a loaded revolver found in a pillowcase underneath the front passenger seat in which he was sitting.

Ryder and Maxien Chand were also charged with possession of the firearm.

The jury found the group guilty on all the charges but failed to agree on Pue, returning a majority 11:1 verdict.

In tears, Pue reacted angrily to the guilty verdict.

Maxien put her head on her partner's shoulder who comforted her as she wept.

About four family members, including Jessica and the girls' mother, listened in silence to the verdicts from the public gallery. The decisions were returned at 4pm after four hours' deliberation.

Crown prosecutor Justin Marinovich asked Judge Allan Roberts to remand all the prisoners in custody because of the strong likelihood they would be given prison terms.

Judge Roberts released Maxien Chand on bail after her lawyer Kylie Pascoe said Chand was still breast-feeding her 11-month-old daughter. Ms Pascoe said the baby would also need time to get used to her grandmother before her mother was jailed.

Pue, a farm worker, was also released on bail. Both Oscar Chand and Ryder were remanded in custody.

The judge ordered pre-sentence reports prior to sentencing on November 1.

THE VERDICTS

Guilty Mastermind Oscar Chand, daughter Maxien Chand and her partner Halen Ryder of supplying methamphetamine to Tommy White.

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Guilty Maxien Chand, Halen Ryder and Daniel Pue of the illegal possession of a pistol.

Decision for Pue was a majority 11:1 verdict. 

- Taranaki Daily News

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