Blackmailer jailed for drug relapse

Last updated 08:44 08/02/2013

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A woman who blackmailed a Nelson man for $16,000 over an alleged affair has had a home detention sentence converted to a prison term after repeated breaches of her sentencing conditions including taking drugs.

Jodie Maree Le Frantz, 34, unemployed, had admitted the charge of blackmail in a hearing on November 22.

Justice Alan McKenzie sentenced her to nine months home detention, but yesterday, in front of High Court Justice Ronald Young, the Crown applied to have that sentence cancelled and a new one imposed after at least nine breaches of the terms of her original sentence.

In June last year Le Frantz sent a letter to the victim's workplace, saying she wanted him to deposit $16,000 into her bank account by July 20 or she would tell his wife about the alleged affair.

She texted him on June 22 to repeat her threat, and did the same on June 25.

The man reported the matter to the police, who arrested Le Frantz shortly afterwards.

At the November hearing, the victim, whose name is suppressed, told the court he had been "living under siege", and had been shocked and stressed.

The allegations had meant he had to have a frank conversation with his family, but he had nothing to hide, he said.

Her original sentence of home detention had come with the conditions that she not purchase or consume alcohol or drugs, undergo any drug testing required of her, attend drug and alcohol counselling sessions, and not contact the victim without prior approval.

Yesterday Crown prosecutor Jackson Webber said Le Frantz had breached the conditions of her original sentence at least nine times, with the most serious breaches involving unexplained abscences from alcohol and drug counselling sessions and the consumption of cannabis and Ritalin.

Defence lawyer Steven Zindel said there was no doubt his client was a difficult person to deal with, and could be erratic at times.

The sentence of home detention had been hard on her, as she was a mother of three children, he said.

Justice Young said it was apparent that Le Frantz had ignored a warning from Justice McKenzie that her sentence could be cancelled if she did not comply with its conditions.

She had failed to take advantage of the opportunity given to her by the sentence of home detention, with the relapse into drug use the most serious.

There was still six months and two weeks remaining of her original sentence.

Justice Young cancelled her original sentence and sentenced her to eight months in prison.

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