A woman claiming she couldn't afford to pay a debt was caught out by a judge in court this week.

After testifying she could only pay $2 a week towards the debt, the judge revealed he'd been behind her at a checkout where she forked out $62 for a carton of cigarettes.

Jacqueline Anne Galland was means-tested in the Greymouth District Court on Thursday about $2,000 owed on rental payments, unaware she had been next to Judge David Saunders in a supermarket queue on Monday.

Galland had testified she did not smoke. She eventually admitted the $62 purchase but said it wasn't her money. She was sentenced to 180 hours' community work and ordered to make repayments of $25 a week.


- Greymouth Star