A woman has been charged with assault and threatening to kill or harm several bosses and workers at one of New Zealand’s most prestigious architecture firms.
Staff at Warren & Mahoney were sent home from their Wynyard Quarter offices in Auckland last week “due to security concerns”, the company confirmed yesterday.
A woman appeared in Waitakere District Court via audio-visual feed yesterday on six charges, which involve allegations of threatening behaviour to five people over four separate days last month.
She has yet to enter a plea and has been remanded in custody, with interim name suppression.
It is understood senior staff members at the firm were among the alleged targets.
Police said they received a report of a person making threats at a commercial address on Pakenham St West last week.
“While we are unable to provide further comment while the matter is before the court, we can confirm no serious injuries were reported,” a police spokesperson said.
A Warren & Mahoney spokesperson said: “Police were immediately made aware of the threats. Security measures were put in place, and our team members had the option of returning to the office later in the week.
“Support has been provided and is available to any of our team members, should any request it. We are advised that as the matter is before the courts, we cannot comment further.”
Community Magistrate Fenella Thomas granted the woman interim name suppression on Friday based on mental health concerns.
The woman started the hearing by firing her newly assigned lawyer, George Burns, stating she wanted to represent herself. She rehired him later in the hearing at the urging of the magistrate.
“Everything on this piece of paper sounds pretty horrific,” the woman told the judge, holding up what appeared to be court documents. But, she added, it was all lies.
According to the court charge sheets, the woman has been charged with:
- August 4: Threatening to do grievous bodily harm to a senior staff member
- Monday last week, August 21: Threatening to do grievous bodily harm to another senior staff member
- Friday last week, August 25: Threatening to kill two staff members
- Last Saturday, August 26: Assaulting and threatening to kill another woman.
The woman, who was supported in court by two family members, sometimes talked over Magistrate Thomas.
“I’d really like to pray. Can I pray?” she asked several times, suggesting also that she sing a short song.
Magistrate Thomas declined the song request but relented on the prayer.
The woman then recited a karakia, struggling to finish it through tears and wiping her eyes with the sleeves of her bright orange jumper.
She is expected to return to court via audio-video link next Wednesday, at which time a bail application will be heard.
The magistrate said she expected the woman to have been interviewed by a forensic nurse by then. The magistrate declined the defence’s request that she appear in person, pointing out that there had been an incident in the courtroom cells yesterday after she first appeared in court on the charges.
Warren & Mahoney is one of Australasia’s most renowned, award-winning architecture firms, with seven offices in New Zealand and Australia.
Its portfolio includes the Supreme Court building in Wellington, the Christchurch Town Hall rebuild, the Wynyard Quarter Innovation Precinct and Commercial Bay in central Auckland.