Underage sale blamed on pain medication

LAIRD HARPER
Last updated 05:00 05/12/2012

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A Stratford liquor store duty manager said the pain medication she was taking affected her judgment when selling alcohol to a minor.

Janet Claire Bernier, of Five Star Liquor, admitted the charge yesterday in Hawera District Court.

The store was one of 15 liquor outlets visited during a controlled-purchase operation run by police and the public health unit, and one of only two to sell alcohol to a minor.

Under supervision, a 17-year-old went into the shop and bought a 12-pack of Vodka Cruisers.

Bernier, 60, did not ask for the girl's age or identification.

Defence lawyer Grant Vosseler said Bernier's judgment was affected by pain medication.

Judge Allan Roberts said anyone with 14 years' experience in the industry should know better.

Bernier was ordered to pay $583.89 in fines and court costs.

A Hawera real estate agent admitted defrauding Harcourts.

Leigha Ann Rowe, 55, has been charged with using a chequebook owned by Harcourts to obtain a pecuniary advantage.

However, the details of her charge were not read out in court as both her lawyer and the police needed to iron out the details of exactly how much was taken.

Rowe will reappear for sentencing on January 16.

A Hawera shop assistant caught driving while more than three times over the limit has been sentenced to community work.

Joshua Nicholas Leathem admitted driving with a blood alcohol reading of 246 milligrams - the legal limit is 80mg - when he appeared in Hawera District Court yesterday.

Judge Roberts sentenced Leathem, 21, to 65 hours' community work and disqualified him from driving for six months.

It was his first offence.

"I hope you have learnt your lesson," Judge Roberts said.

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