A woman who made a false rape complaint after her partner broke up with her has been given home detention for lies that caused her victim "a year of anguish".
Esha Verma, 37, lied so she could "punish" her partner for breaking up with her, Judge Denys Barry said.
The victim spent a year waiting for exoneration as Verma continued the lie, only admitting the truth when police confronted her with cracks in her story.
The day she laid the complaint, she had visited the victim to try to convince him to rekindle the relationship. When he refused, she immediately went to Rape Crisis.
In a 111 call Verma made from the Rape Crisis office, she asks police to come quickly and sounds tearful on the phone.
Verma gave a three-hour recorded interview to police in which she gave the date and time for the alleged rape.
But police later uncovered inaccuracies in her allegations, such as documents provided by the victim showing he was travelling on a bus at the time.
Phone records showed the defendant herself would not have been at home at the time either.
According to the summary of facts, a year after giving the interview she was invited back to the police station, where she told police she no longer wanted them to investigate as she had forgiven the victim.
When confronted with evidence her story did not add up, Verma claimed she was traumatised and upset and might have got the timings wrong.
However, a few days later she came back to the police station with a written statement confessing she had lied, saying she was angry he had ended the relationship, and accusing him of stealing a few of her personal items.
She has pleaded guilty to attempting to pervert the course of justice.
She appeared in the Wellington District Court this morning for sentencing, where Crown prosecutor Sally Carter said she sought a starting point of four or five years' imprisonment.
A mental health report revealed she had bi-polar disorder, but Carter said there was nothing to indicate that had anything to do with her behaviour around the offending.
Judge Denys Barry noted there had never been any suggestion Verma was unfit to plead or stand trial, or that she had a defence of insanity available to her.
Judge Barry said the accusations against the victim were "soul destroying" for him and that he was "overwhelmed with despair and contemplated suicide".
Verma's defence lawyer applied for a discharge without conviction, arguing among other things that a conviction would impede her travel and could make her liable for deportation.
Verma came to New Zealand in 2010.
"This offending is so serious that possible revocation of residency or deportation is not of itself a consequence that is out of all proportion to the gravity of the offending," the judge said.
He said Verma had "impugned the integrity of the criminal justice process by using it as a vehicle for retribution".
"[The offending] was motivated by spite ... this was a sustained and clinical course of deception.
"There's no real remorse, no palpable empathy, and in fact in the wake of the guilty plea the defendant spent considerable energy in trying to deflect the blame back on to the victim."
Judge Barry said Verma was eligible for home detention by a narrow margin, and sentenced her to a term of one year.
He also put a protection order in place for the victim.
"Having seen firsthand the defendant's proclivity to seek retribution I would not discount for one moment the reasonable possibility that she might make some sort of approach to him."
Victim had nightmares
In an impact statement read out at an earlier court hearing, the victim, who has name suppression, said he suffered "constant emotional blackmail" from Verma.
He had regular nightmares about the defendant and felt overly anxious when he saw other women who look like her.
The victim's mother earlier said they had gone through "a year of anguish" after the complaint was laid.
"We are, as you know, a tight family, and we were distraught to see what you had done to him," she said in her victim impact statement last year.
"I think you decided to do the worst possible thing short of physically injuring him that you could think of ... I believe you would have quite serenely sent [him] off to prison if the evidence hadn't outed you as a liar."
The mother also said the defendant had made it harder for other women who had actually been sexually assaulted to be believed.
"You should be ashamed of what you have done to the credibility of women everywhere."