Golriz Ghahraman facing new fourth charge

Golriz Ghahraman is on holiday overseas. Photo: RNZ
Golriz Ghahraman is facing a fourth charge. Photo: RNZ
Police are laying a fourth charge against former Green MP Golriz Ghahraman, who had her first court appearance for alleged shoplifting delayed again.

The former lawyer was due to appear in the Auckland District Court on Wednesday morning to face three shoplifting charges for nearly $10,000 worth of goods she allegedly took from two boutique stores.

On Monday, the Auckland District Court registry confirmed Ghahraman’s first appearance had been pushed back to March 20, following an earlier adjournment in January after a third shoplifting charge emerged.

Ghahraman’s lawyer Annabel Cresswell confirmed to the Herald police were laying a new charge against her client.

Cresswell said it was a standard adjournment for when a new charge is laid.

Police are considering diversion and other issues that are considered at this early stage in the court process, she explained.

The New Zealand Herald has yet to obtain details of a fourth charge.

Details from court documents for the first three charges show the 43-year-old is accused of stealing $2060 of clothing from Scotties Boutique in Auckland’s Ponsonby on December 21, and $7223 worth of clothing from the same store two days later last year.

Both of the Auckland charges carry a maximum penalty of seven years in prison.

Green MP Golriz Ghahraman is accused of stealing from Wellington store Cre8iveworx before taking...
Green MP Golriz Ghahraman is accused of stealing from Wellington store Cre8iveworx before taking items from Scottie's Boutique in Ponsonby several months later. Photos: Mark Mitchell, Melissa Nightingale
Ghahraman is also charged with stealing $695 worth of clothing from Wellington’s Cre8iveworx store on October 22 last year. That charge carries a maximum penalty of one year in prison.

The total value of items she is alleged to have shoplifted is $9978.

In an earlier statement, Ghahraman, who resigned from Parliament in January, apologised for her behaviour and said she did not excuse her actions.

She cited "extreme stress” and linked it to previously unrecognised trauma. She said she was seeking help from mental health professionals.

In her statement, Ghahraman said the stress had led her to act in ways that were "completely out of character".

"I am not trying to excuse my actions, but I do want to explain them.

"The mental health professional I see says my recent behaviour is consistent with recent events giving rise to extreme stress response, and relating to previously unrecognised trauma.

"People should, rightly, expect the highest standards of behaviour from their elected representatives. I fell short. I’m sorry. It’s not a behaviour I can explain because it’s not rational in any way, and after medical evaluation, I understand I’m not well.

"It is a great honour to serve as a Member of Parliament. I am proud of my advocacy work on human rights and foreign affairs, and particularly proud of campaigns that resulted in practical improvements to the electoral laws governing donations and overseas voting.”