Kim Fulton is a NZME. News Service regional reporter

Blackmailing former police officer sentenced

The woman, who has interim name suppression, was sentenced in Auckland District Court today to 12 weeks community detention, 200 hours of community work and 12 months supervision. File photo
The woman, who has interim name suppression, was sentenced in Auckland District Court today to 12 weeks community detention, 200 hours of community work and 12 months supervision. File photo

A former police officer who blackmailed a business partner over his alleged sexual affairs has had her application to avoid a conviction denied.

The woman, who has interim name suppression, was sentenced in Auckland District Court today to 12 weeks community detention, 200 hours of community work and 12 months supervision.

She had previously pleaded guilty to the charge of blackmail.

Judge Grant Fraser said the defendant and her husband went into business with one of the complainants in the case and his fiance in 2010.

The defendant and her partner later approached the complainant wanting to terminate the partnership.

They wanted the company to pay them for their share of an asset and pay wages owed to the husband.

On September 15, 2013 she emailed the complainant threatening to inform his fiance of his alleged sexual affairs if he didn't contact her by the next day. She then subsequently carried out the threat.

Crown lawyer Tim McGuigan said the woman's previous occupation as a police officer indicated she should know the boundaries of criminal law.

He said the level of premeditation in the offending had been high.

He said in most cases imprisonment was warranted for this type of offending.

The Crown wasn't seeking imprisonment but a conviction and denunciation from the court for this type of offending, Mr McGuigan said.

The woman's lawyer, senior counsel Peter Johnson, argued for a discharge without conviction, saying a conviction would impact her employment and travel.

Her husband worked overseas. The couple were working through relationship issues and would need to be able to get together to communicate.

Mr Johnson said in some situations, such as this one, punishment could be short-sighted, antisocial and counterproductive.

The offending had been a slip up as far as her good judgement was concerned. She was unlikely to offend again, he said.

He said he disputed the Crown's claim that the offending had been persistent.

It had happened on two days, September 15 and 16, and had not continued after those dates.

Mr Johnson argued the defendant's previous employment and good character shouldn't be aggravating factors in the offending.

Judge Grant Fraser said her police background elevated the situation as it "heightened her senses as to the level of criminality".

Her previous 19 years' experience in the police force would have given her a much greater understanding of the level of criminality than "Joe Bloggs", he said.

Judge Fraser said a court could only discharge a person without conviction if the consequences of a conviction were out of proportion with the gravity of the offending.

He said the defence argued the offending was precipitated by a sense of frustration that she couldn't get details of the partnership or wages.

She was under severe financial stress having invested $620,000 of borrowed money in the partnership.

Judge Fraser said the Crown argued aggravating factors of the offending were that it was calculated and persistent. It was designed to cause distress and anxiety.

The Crown argued said she was aware of proper legal channels for dealing with the dispute but had stepped outside them.

A sense of entitlement and retribution were evident in the offending, it said.

The gravity of the offending was high and should be marked with a conviction and non-custodial sentence, the Crown argued.

Judge Fraser acknowledged the woman had no previous convictions. She had been cooperative and pleaded guilty. She was prepared to go to restorative justice, which hadn't eventuated, and had an unblemished background.

He said the offending was of a serious nature. It caused significant damage to the complainant's business, reputation and relationship.

He denied the application for a discharge without conviction.

The woman's name suppression will continue until a hearing next month to determine whether it should be lifted.

- NZ Herald

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