A West Coast woman who was means tested in the Greymouth District Court on Thursday, found out she had been in the wrong place at the wrong time when she asked her son to buy tobacco in the New World Supermarket on Monday. The judge was next in the queue.
Jacqueline Anne Galland was before the court over a $2000 debt that she owed to a previous landlord.
The Tenancy Tribunal had ruled that Galland skipped away from a rental property leaving unpaid rent and so much rubbish that it cost the property owner $1000 to clean it up and resulted in him taking five trailer loads of rubbish to the dump.
In all, Galland owed the landlord $2014, but she alleged to the tribunal that she could only afford to pay him $2 a week.
The landlord asked that Galland be means tested by the court. Her allegation that she had no discretionary income was bearing out in court - until Judge David Saunders asked how much she spent a week on cigarettes.
Galland said she did not smoke and did not she provide her son, who she supports, with cigarette money.
"But you asked him to get $62 worth of tobacco in New World on Monday," Judge Saunders said.
"No I didn't," Galland replied.
"You were standing there beside him and told him what to buy," the judge said.
Judge Saunders: "Your son has a bald head and has a passion for cars, because he also bought a car magazine?" Galland: "Oh, that. That was Wednesday and it was his (the son's) girlfriend's money."
Judge Saunders: "Wednesday was last night. It was Monday, and you were with your son because I was right behind you in the queue."
Upon finding that Galland was paying $25 a week off a $3000 fines bill, the judge substituted 180 hours of community work and ordered that the $25 a week go to the former landlord until the $2000 was repaid.
- Greymouth Star