A Dunedin woman whose "callous" text messages prompted her partner to kill himself has failed to dodge a conviction.
Charlotte May Cole, 31, appeared in the Dunedin District Court after admitting a charge of inciting suicide and will spend the next four months on a curfew.
The victim died on November 20, 2019 after spending five days in hospital.
His sister said yesterday that her life had been indelibly altered by her loss.
"My heart and soul are broken for my little brother," she told the court. "He was a fantastic brother and an outstanding dad."
The victim's mother in a statement spoke about how her health had steadily declined since the man's death.
"[He] is my baby son and I feel so empty without him."
Cole, who had a clean criminal record, applied for a discharge without conviction based on a range of factors including the potential impact on her plans to become a chartered accountant.
It may also put her position of treasurer at a local kindergarten in jeopardy, the court heard.
The discharge was opposed by Crown prosecutor Robin Bates, who dismissed many of the suggested consequences of conviction as "speculative".
He stressed the seriousness of the offence and the tragic outcome.
Judge Emma Smith noted the incitements went on for a relatively lengthy period – three months.
Whether or not Cole was convicted, the statutory body for accountants would be informed of the offending, she said.
"I have no doubt you remain anxious and distressed," said the judge, but she said the evidence did not meet the threshold for a discharge without conviction.
The court heard Cole and the victim had been married for four years and in a relationship for seven.
She knew he had a history of mental health issues and he would often tell her of his inner turmoil, a police summary said.
"What you must have known is his vulnerability," said Judge Smith.
Cole, who also had psychological problems, said she believed her partner's threats of self-harm were used as a weapon to keep her in the relationship.
"In the last year of their relationship the victim was physically and emotionally abusive towards the defendant," police said.
The first of the dozen text messages was sent by Cole on August 9, 2019; the last came just hours before her partner was rushed to hospital on November 15 that year.
"These text messages were direct and encouraged the victim to commit suicide," the summary said.
Bates said the communications were "callous" in nature and the result could not have been unexpected.
At a hearing in March, Judge David Robinson suppressed the contents of the 12 messages sent by the defendant so the court could be guided by an expert on the possible consequences of publication.
Judge Emma Smith today permanently suppressed their specifics.
"Their publication may well put in danger a certain sector of the population," she said.
Cole was sentenced to four months' community detention on a 9pm-6am curfew.
Where to get help:
• Lifeline: 0800 543 354 (available 24/7)
• Suicide Crisis Helpline: 0508 828 865 (0508 TAUTOKO) (available 24/7)
• Youthline: 0800 376 633 or text 234 (available 24/7)
• Kidsline: 0800 543 754 (available 24/7)
• Whatsup: 0800 942 8787 (12pm to 11pm)
• Depression helpline: 0800 111 757 or text 4202 (available 24/7)
• Anxiety helpline: 0800 269 4389 (0800 ANXIETY) (available 24/7)
• Rainbow Youth: (09) 376 4155
If it is an emergency and you feel like you or someone else is at risk, call 111.