Mother jailed after assaults, drive charges

By Aaron van Delden

A Wanganui woman is in prison after being convicted on charges arising from several incidents in the same day.

On November 8 this year, Suzanne Kathleen Lovell was asleep on a mattress at her partner's home, alongside him and their 1-year-old child.

When the child woke about 7am, an argument developed and Lovell hit her partner with a chair.

She was arrested and bailed at the Whanganui District Court later that morning, on the condition she not contact the assault victim.

But after appearing in court, Lovell returned to his house and another argument began. She again used a chair to assault him.

Lovell, a disqualified driver, moved on to her sister's house, where she smashed a glass door before driving off.

Shortly afterwards, she was stopped by police and recorded an excess breath alcohol level of 479mcg, 79mcg above the legal limit..

Court documents show Lovell kicked at the officer who had stopped her and threatened to stab him and others.

The 33-year-old's pre-sentence report indicated she had been involved in a violent and abusive relationship with her child's father for a number of years, with the police attending 11 call-outs relating to the partnership in the past two years. Lovell was also identified as a regular cannabis user who had a problem with alcohol.

Defence counsel Raukawa Simon said her client was more open to seeking help for those issues than she had previously been, following the November 8 offending.

"She wants to be a healthy-minded person," Ms Simon said.

However, Ms Simon said the counselling Lovell had sought at Arohata Prison in Tawa, while on remand, had not been confidential.

She said Lovell's personal details had "spread like wildfire" through the prison, so she did not trust the service.

On that basis, Ms Simon appealed to Judge Dugald Matheson to allow Lovell, should she find a suitable property, to apply for home detention, because she would be able to access discreet counselling services in the community.

Judge Matheson was pleased Lovell was willing to engage in a process of rehabilitation and said "that certainly needs to happen". But he noted she had a history of violent behaviour and was "no stranger to prison".

Judge Matheson did not grant the request for home detention.

Instead, he sentenced Lovell to nine months' imprisonment: six months for two counts of assault with a blunt instrument, one count of assaulting a police officer and another of threatening grievous bodily harm, and three months for driving while disqualified and driving with excess breath alcohol.

On a wilful damage charge, she was order to pay $88 in reparation.

- Wanganui Chronicle

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