Woman who blackmailed man with false rape claims has appeal rejected
A Blenheim woman who blackmailed a man with false rape claims has lost an appeal of her prison sentence.
Joanne Lee Kerr's demands for money from a Blenheim man turned into threats in December. She threatened to go to the police and say he raped her, and write on Facebook that he was a convicted sex offender who preyed on young girls.
After lengthy negotiations with Kerr, the man told police and Kerr was charged with blackmail.
The 34-year-old admitted blackmail, as well as wilful damage and intimidation in March and was sentenced to 12 months' imprisonment at the Blenheim District Court in May.
Judge Richard Russell said he would have sentenced her to home detention, but her proposed flatmates were unsuitable.
One of them was a recovering methamphetamine addict, and the other was serving a sentence of community detention.
Kerr's lawyer Rennie Gould appealed the sentence at the High Court in Blenheim earlier this month, saying Judge Russell failed to consider options such as intensive supervision.
He could have delayed the sentencing so Kerr could find another place to live, Gould said.
But in a decision released this week, Justice Susan Thomas declined the appeal, saying serious blackmail offending often resulted in jail time.
Kerr had a history of dishonesty convictions, she noted.
She blackmailed the man while serving an intensive supervision sentence, and had breached similar sentences and release conditions three times before, Justice Thomas said.
"Ms Kerr's sentence of 12 months' imprisonment was entirely appropriate," she said, dismissing the appeal.
- The Marlborough Express