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Woman sentenced for lying to court

A Masterton woman has been sentenced to home detention for defying a parenting order and lying about it in court.

Hanna Renee Gardiner, 42, appeared for sentencing in Masterton District Court on Wednesday, having admitted to allowing her current partner sole supervision of her daughter between June and September 2021.

Gardiner and the daughter’s father share 50-50 custody of the child on the condition that Gardiner’s current partner has no relationship with their daughter.

In September 2021, the daughter’s father complained, so Gardiner appeared as a witness in a family court proceeding, where she falsely declared that she did not facilitate the above relationship.

She was initially charged with perjury, carrying a maximum penalty of seven years imprisonment, but it was downgraded to the lesser charge of making a false statement.

The criminal proceedings have been drawn out over two years; when Gardener appeared in June of this year, her lawyer, Ian Hard, said she was reluctant to consent to an electronically monitored sentence because of health concerns.

But Judge Noel Sainsbury was not having a bar of it.

“I’m going to be blunt with you, Miss Gardiner. I don’t know how you got out of a perjury conviction, but you did. This is serious offending,” Judge Sainsbury said.

“If you don’t want to consent to electronic monitoring, if you don’t think it’s that serious, fine, six months prison now. That is the situation you are in.”

When Gardiner returned to court on Wednesday, she had applied for electronic monitoring at her Masterton home.

Hard said his client’s health had been affected by the drawn-out proceedings and requested she be sentenced to the minimum sentence of community detention.

Judge Andrew Nicholls said he agreed with Judge Sainsbury that Gardiner was fortunate to have avoided a perjury charge.

He said community detention was impossible; the minimum sentence would be three months home detention or six months in prison.

“Probation has raised concerns of your daughter visiting you at the address where you will be living with your partner, but I will be leaving questions of child access to the Family Court,” Judge Nicholls said.

Gardiner was sentenced to three months home detention.

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