Threat to kill charges to go before jury

LAIRD HARPER
Last updated 05:00 29/05/2013

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A Rawhitiroa woman who allegedly threatened to kill three people, including Work and Income regional commissioner Gloria Campbell, has pleaded not guilty and elected trial by jury.

Sonja Maree Lawson, 38, is also charged with two counts of using a telephone device for the purpose of disturbing by maliciously transmitting communications with the intent of offending the recipients.

A trial date has not been set but a post committal conference will be held on July 26.

An Eltham teenager who tried to escape from police twice in three days has been sentenced to home detention.

Owen Wood, 17, had earlier pleaded guilty to 11 charges including twice driving while prohibited, dangerous driving, burglary, two counts of unlawfully possessing a firearm and two of failing to stop for police.

Yesterday, the Hawera District Court was told Wood tried to evade police on March 25, before finally pulling over a few kilometres outside Eltham.

Three days later, Wood again tried to elude police when he was spotted on a motorbike about midday. With police in pursuit, and reaching speeds of about 80kmh, Wood darted into a nearby property.

Police found him hiding under a pile of washing in the laundry.

Police searched his home five days later and found a stolen .22 calibre rifle, an air rifle and a stash of cannabis.

Judge Allan Roberts said he stepped back from jailing Wood because he had the support of his aunty and uncle, and had moved away from Taranaki.

Judge Roberts sentenced him to five months' home detention, disqualified him from driving for nine months and ordered reparation of $517.

A barmaid who stole more than $13,000 from Opunake's Club Hotel to feed her methamphetamine and gambling addictions has been sentenced to intensive supervision.

Rebecca Amy Neil, 29, had earlier admitted a charge of theft by a person in a special relationship.

The Hawera District Court was told that over a 20-month period Neil took money from the hotel's safe and pokie machines and wrote cheques to herself.

As accounts manager she was able to write out hotel cheques to cover the shortfall in the Pub Charity's bank account.

Judge Allan Roberts said she also banked cheques directly into her own accounts to pay personal bills. She then falsified or removed cheque butts in an attempt to make the transactions look legitimate to management.

Her lawyer, Rajan Rai, said Neil realised jail could be an option and anything less than that would be an indulgence.

He also presented the court with a cheque from Neil to pay back the stolen money.

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Judge Roberts said Neil's former employer was "devastated by the loss of trust" and had to dip into his own savings to keep the business running.

He sentenced her to nine months' supervision, 200 hours' of community work and ordered the reparation be paid.

A 31-year-old landscape gardener who spat at a woman while in a Stratford pub has been jailed for a month.

Yesterday in the Hawera District Court, Cristie Jensen admitted a charge of common assault after a late night altercation with the woman on May 26 at the Dejavu Bar.

Defence lawyer Grant Vosseler said Jensen had "spat the dummy" after a perceived wrong doing by the woman some time before.

Judge Allan Roberts said spitting in a person's face was utterly disgusting and he "may as well have punched her".

Judge Roberts said there was no excuse for what Jensen had done.

- Taranaki Daily News

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