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Prolific shoplifter dodges a jail sentence

A recidivist shoplifter has avoided jail time after falling on the mercy of the court.

At a recent hearing in Masterton District Court, Judge Barbara Morris sentenced the pregnant mother of six on two of the multiple trespass and burglary charges she is facing and remanded her on bail with conditions of intensive supervision for the remainder.

Judge Morris said that after a period of no offending, there had been “an explosion in shoplifting” in 2020 when the woman turned to drugs and that – although the appropriate sentence would be imprisonment – in the interest of addressing the addiction issues, she was willing to give the woman one more chance.

“If we don’t deal with the underlying causes, she will keep doing this,” Judge Morris said.

“I’m not going to sentence you to prison, but how can I be sure that the public and these premises are safe from you? It’s been again, and again, and again,” she said.

“We’ve tried this before, but what has happened is there have been further offences – are we wasting everybody’s time?”

The woman was emphatic and emotional in her response.

She said she was ready to put in the work to turn her life around.

“I’m hapu now, and it’s time I get all my children back.

“My mum and dad aren’t getting any younger,” she said, wiping away tears.

Judge Morris asked if she was prepared to do drug and alcohol counselling.

“Yes,” she replied.

Judge Morris sentenced the woman on one charge of trespass and one charge of burglary and ordered her to pay $234 in reparation to the store she stole from.

She said if the woman broke any conditions of her bail, there would be no choice but to sentence her to prison on the other charges.

“You have gone into these premises a number of times and taken a considerable amount. None of it was returned. You’ve been trespassed, and they are really sick of you.”

Judge Morris said the trespass orders remained intact.

“But that is the past and we now want to look to your future and that of your tamariki, otherwise I can very safely predict that they will be in this courtroom in 10-15 years’ time.

“You owe it to them and your ageing parents and most of all yourself to turn this around.”

Judge Morris ordered a probation progress report every three months and remanded the woman on bail with 18 months of intensive supervision, to undertake drug and alcohol counselling as directed, and reappear in court in August.

“You are going to proudly tell me how you’re doing, no breaches, not offending, and that things are going well. There is a lot of mahi to be done, you just have to keep an eye on the ball of your tamariki. If you don’t, you know what is going to happen.”

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