The 22-year-old woman who tried to snatch a two-day-old baby from the St George's Hospital maternity ward is being given a third chance to do her community work sentence.

Rachel Marie French was back in Christchurch District Court for resentencing, more than a year after Judge Raoul Neave had originally given her a 250-hour community work sentence for the December 2008 attempt to snatch the baby boy.

She was described as "a very disturbed young woman" at the time of the sentencing for the attempt which involved her going to the hospital and pretending to be a trainee midwife. She was noticed by a staff member before she could leave with the baby.

Six months after the sentencing she was back in court charged with a breach of the sentence for not doing the community work, and was given six more weeks to get on with the sentence. She reported five more times during those six weeks and was given no extra hours, but told to continue with the sentence.

However, she ended up back in court recently charged with another breach, still with 179 hours of the original 250-hour sentence to do. The case was sent back to Judge Neave for resentencing, with a psychiatric report update.

French had told the Probation Service she was not going to community work because she had an anxiety disorder.

However, Judge Gary MacAskill, who ordered the resentencing, said there was a suggestion she was being "reasonably creative" to evade the sentence.

Judge Neave, defence counsel Elizabeth Bulger, and probation officer Chantelle Waters grappled with the difficult case today and the judge decided French could be given a third chance.

He adjourned the court briefly while Miss Waters checked whether a placement would be possible at an agency, which would involve a smaller group of community workers which might alleviate the public stress French was facing.

French had breached an earlier sentence at an agency placement, but it was agreed she would go again, probably to a Salvation Army shop. Probation would not send her to an agency placement, such as a kindergarten, because of the nature of her offending.

"There may be no other option available than prison, unless you pull your socks up," the judge told French. "I appreciate you have difficulties Miss French, but there is an obligation on you to try."

The case has been adjourned to November 2, so that Judge Neave can monitor progress.

"We generally set our faces against the 'babysitting' approach, but this is a rare case where it is appropriate."

- NZPA