A woman ordered to pay reparation of more than $138,000 when sentenced in the Invercargill District Court in March has had the order quashed and replaced.
Linda Doreen Scanlon was sentenced to two years and three months' jail and ordered to pay $138,172.77 in reparation at $50 a week following her release, after she admitted 330 charges of dishonestly using a document.
The court was told that Scanlon had been asked to help a man with paperwork for a loan application and tax returns, and was given authorisation to deal with his bank accounts. However, she obtained a chequebook for one of the accounts without his knowledge.
Scanlon appealed the reparation order, claiming it would result in undue hardship and that the judge had failed to take her financial circumstances into account when making the order.
The Court of Appeal, in a decision released this week, allowed the appeal and replaced the original reparation order with one requiring her to pay $13,000 at $50 a week after her release.
If the original order had stood, it would have taken Scanlon 53 years to pay the sum, the decision said.
Some level of reparation was needed, the appeal court ruled.
Although ordering Scanlon to pay $50 a week for five years was likely to cause hardship, it must be undue before it would be inappropriate to make the order, the decision said.
"We cannot accept that an order to pay $50 a week for five years will cause undue hardship for the appellant, so as to preclude a reparation order being made."
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