A former Serious Fraud Office lawyer has pleaded guilty to forgery and been discharged without conviction on the grounds that her mental state was impaired at the time.
Anita Killeen pleaded guilty in Auckland District Court this morning to two counts of using forged documents after she sent an email to the press supposedly written by former SFO chief executive Adam Feeley.
Judge Mary-Beth Sharp said the former chief prosecutor of the SFO was suffering from severe side effects of the fertility drug chlomiphene at the time of her offending in November 2011, which caused moodiness, obsession with previous issues and emotional instability.
"I consider her level of culpability was as low as it could be and accepted she wouldn't have done what she did unless she was under the serious effects of the drug. Tragically she was in the one per cent of women who suffer serious side effects from the drug."
Killeen lost her position at the SFO after Feeley restructured the organisation, and she raised a personal grievance against the organisation for factors including alleged misleading statements.
In November 2011 she was advised to take a double dose of the fertility drug, and shortly after sent an email seemingly authored by Feeley to the National Business Review and the NZ Herald. The email discussed how the restructuring was predetermined.
Sharp said Killeen's health deteriorated after her arrest and she suffered serious cognitive difficulties where she was shocked as to how she was implicated in the alleged forgery.
"I believe it has taken all this time since her arrest to accept her offending," the judge said.
Sharp rejected the Crown's application for reparation of $10,000 because Killen had suffered enough due to the alleged breach of her settlement agreement with the SFO not being concluded.
Killeen was an exceptional person who had contributed greatly to the legal fraternity and wider community, said Sharp. "I don't like to think of the stress she has been under in this case."