Sentence halved on appeal

Margaret Kronfeld
Margaret Kronfeld
A woman who had an affair with a Dunedin businessman and later targeted the man's wife with a barrage of emails has had her sentence almost halved.

Margaret Denise Kronfeld (53), of Auckland, previously had her conviction for criminal harassment quashed on appeal because of a ``technicality''.

She appeared by video link in the High Court at Dunedin yesterday where Justice Nicholas Davison reduced her sentence from 120 hours' community work to 70 hours.

Before making his ruling, the judge invited Kronfeld to make a statement assuring the victim her animosity had ceased.

``I most certainly do regret everything that went on during that period of my life. I've spent a lot of time reflecting on it. I'm embarrassed, I'm regretful, I'm remorseful and extremely sorry for the stress and anxiety that I caused towards the victim. She had done nothing wrong and I truly regret it,'' Kronfeld said.

``I have always been an upstanding person in the community and I lost myself. Having had time to reflect upon it, I'm really regretful of everything I've done.''

The victim sat at the back of the court in Dunedin listening to the apology.

``That comes as assurance to me and I'm sure to the victim,'' Justice Davison said.

Kronfeld admitted two Telecommunications Act charges during her judge-alone trial in February last year, and was found guilty of three counts of accessing a computer system without authority.

The conviction for criminal harassment was overturned on appeal because all but one of the defendant's emails used to support the allegation had been used in other charges.

The effect of that, defence counsel Andrew Speed said, was ``double jeopardy''; and Justice Davison concurred.

However, he noted: ``There were many other emails which could have founded the charge of criminal harassment.''

Using a host of pseudonyms, Kronfeld contacted the wife of the man with whom she had been conducting the illicit affair.

She called the victim ``spineless'' and told her she was ``married to a man with a hungry, wandering penis''.

The court heard at trial how Kronfeld met the married man - whose name was suppressed - at an Auckland conference in 2011.

After three years of secret liaisons around the country, Kronfeld issued an ultimatum, telling the man to choose between her and his wife.

When the Dunedin man opted to stay with his wife, the defendant's campaign began.

Until then, Mr Speed said, his client had never so much as received a parking ticket.

``This is someone who's really placed herself in a situation which she realises was totally out of character,'' he said.

``[She has] worked extremely hard during her life, been a successful businesswoman, kept her family together, demonstrates a clear insight into where she went wrong and how she lost her values.''

Justice Davison noted Kronfeld had already completed 27 hours of community work, leaving her with 43 to complete the sentence.


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