Conviction stands over abusive text messages

Last updated 05:00 09/12/2013

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A Taranaki woman who sent a slew of abusive text messages to two government employees has failed to overturn her conviction.

Sonja Maree Lawson was convicted after a defended hearing in the Hawera District Court on two counts of using a telephone for the purpose of disturbing.

In her appeal, Lawson said she was unfairly treated and the prosecution against her was a further attempt to discredit her. But in a recently released judgment from the High Court, Justice Hansen said those messages "were intended to disturb, were sent maliciously and that there was present the requisite intention to offend". The messages to Work and Income employees Max Brooking and Roger Wells were peppered with expletives and obscenities. "It may well be that she was, and remains, sincere in her belief the epithets she employed were justified," Justice Hansen said.

"But the judge was entitled to conclude she was motivated by intense feelings of hostility, and made a deliberate decision to vent her anger and ill-will towards the complainants by using extreme, intemperate and defamatory language in the text messages.

"Despite her comprehensive and careful submissions, Ms Lawson has been unable to show that the judge erred in reaching his decision." The decision comes days after another High Court judge threw out on appeal a 12-month suspended sentence.

Instead, Lawson was convicted and discharged over several offensive faxes. Justice Williams said he accepted Lawson's aims were merely to draw attention to disputes with C&M Legal, the Ministry of Social Development and Laser Electrical.

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- Taranaki Daily News

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