Harassment had victim fearful for self, family

A woman charged for the second time with criminal harassment caused a man to fear for the health and safety of his family.

The 43-year-old defendant, who cannot be named due to a final suppression order, met the victim in 2010 when he was her landlord, though they never had a close relationship, the Dunedin District Court heard.

For more than 10 years, however, she sent him numerous emails and texts on varying subjects, but with a clear message to the victim.

She wanted him to be with her.

It had "been a theme probably all the way through," he testified at her judge-alone trial in February.

The trial in front of Judge Dominic Flatley was to determine whether she knew the harassment would cause both mental and physical harm to the victim.

She pleaded guilty halfway through, admitting she did.

The harassment in question arose from three emails sent in April 2021, which resulted in a warning, and 13 emails in August 2021.

They occurred just six months after she was sentenced to supervision on her first charge of criminal harassment.

That previous charge related to 16 emails sent between March and April 2020, after she had been served a harassment notice for sending 10 emails in August 2019.

The victim told the court he just wanted it to stop.

He was "really concerned" for his family as she had turned up at both his home and his place of work, even when he changed jobs.

The emails relating to the current charge were also sent to other people, including some public figures, and featured religious undertones.

Some of the text described the victim as the chosen one, and "next in line for the throne".

Among the subject lines were "The second coming of Jesus Christ", "Morphine drug test positive", "Position for King is available", and "Blessings of Hearts Desires Granted".

At her sentencing yesterday, Judge Flatley said the defendant suffered from mental health issues.

"This is, just in my view, part of your illness and your presentation, unfortunately for the victim," the court heard.

"It’s not acceptable behaviour, but there is context for you".

There would be a sterner penalty if she came back for the same offending, he said.

The judge sentenced her to 12 months’ supervision.

-- Tina Grumball




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