A Kiwi woman who targeted the elderly in a spate of burglaries before fleeing to Australia and being deported back to New Zealand has successfully appealed part of her sentence.
Ngakiri Williams was originally sentenced to five years and nine months' imprisonment
on nine charges of burglary, six charges of dishonestly using a document, two charges
of receiving stolen property and one of supplying a Class A controlled drug.
The judge also imposed a minimum period of imprisonment (MPI) of 50 per cent, and ordered her to pay $9000 reparation after her release.
Williams appealed the sentence, claiming the starting point was too high, and also the MPI.
In a judgment released yesterday the Court of Appeal held the sentence was "not manifestly excessive", but quashed the MPI.
The charges related to a period of nearly six months between March and August in 2012, when Williams burgled nine homes.
She took credit cards and other possessions of the occupants. Some of the items taken were treasured, including keepsakes of loved ones who had died.
She used the credit cards to make various purchases and withdraw cash.
She targeted elderly persons in affluent suburbs and would break into their homes, usually while they were outside gardening or engaged in some other household task.
She would later call the occupants, pretending to be an employee of the bank for the stolen cards, and trick them into divulging their PIN numbers.
At times Williams carried out the offending with two others.
While on electronically monitored bail awaiting trial she fled to Australia in late March or early April 2013.
In Australia she continued to offend, receiving a prison sentence of two years and eight months in 2015 for nearly identical offending before being released and held in a detention centre pending deportation.
She was deported to New Zealand and remanded in custody from June 2017, until she pleaded guilty to those 2012-2013 charges on March 15 last year.
In quashing the MPI the judge noted Williams had served 32 months in prison in Australia, and a further 18 months in detention.
Removing the minimum period meant Williams would have to serve 23 months' prison, so she would have been jailed continuously for 73 months for the two sets of burglary and related offending, and the detention.
"While the sentence for the subsequent offending in Australia and detention do not respond to the present offending, we consider that the protection of the public has been adequately addressed by the combined period of continuous incarceration."