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Wairarapa Times-Age - 2021-06-11

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Thief steals food from children

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A mother who stole food from another woman’s children was sentenced at Masterton District Court yesterday. Krystal May Colleen Mccarthy appeared on five shoplifting charges, one charge of theft from a dwelling, and one of failing to answer district court bail. Defence lawyer Mike Kilbride said his client’s offending was driven by her drug addiction. “Ms Mccarthy is on a jobseekers benefit, but it is the offending which funds her addiction,” Kilbride said. However, since the offending, which began in December last year and ceased in February, Mccarthy had referred herself to a residential rehabilitation programme. Kilbride said a sentence of intensive supervision would give his client the “best chance” to be accepted into such a programme. “She understands she can’t do that alone,” he said. “There will no doubt be some waiting till a bed becomes available.” The main cause for her desire to change was her children, who currently did not live with her. “She understands that she can’t have those children with her, which is something that is crippling to her,” Kilbride said. Judge Barbara Morris questioned whether a comprehensive drug and alcohol assessment had been ordered, noting Mccarthy appeared to be in need of a rehabilitation programme. “She’s not looking well, and I suspect the drug addiction is really gripping her at this stage.” The judge ordered a sentence of two years’ intensive supervision for the offending, which she described as “a large number of thefts”. The items stolen included a Kathmandu jacket, food from supermarkets, and perfume from Farmers. “And you stole food from a solo mother on a benefit who was trying to do her best for her three children,” Judge Morris said, describing this particular offence as “probably as low as you can go”. However, she also noted the trauma in Mccarthy’s past and said this was a driving factor of her drug addiction, and her offending in turn. “I sense that you’re very much at a low point at this stage in your life,” Judge Morris said, to which the defendant nodded, wiping tears from her eyes. “But sometimes you need to get to that point before you can turn your life around. “There’s lots of challenges in front of you, but they’re not insurmountable. “There’s no question that victims have been affected by your offending. They, too, deserve to know that there will be no more victims. This warrants imprisonment.” However, she was concerned that imprisoning the defendant without rehabilitation would lead to further offending. “Research indicates that those who self refer and acknowledge that they need help are more likely to be successful,” the judge said. “And you’ve already done that.” She recommended Mccarthy use her children as motivation, and described her as a person with “much potential”. As well as the sentence of intensive supervision, the judge ordered a reparation payment of $20 for the Lower Hutt family whose food was taken. Mccarthy was ordered to complete an addiction programme, and would be required to undergo judicial monitoring every three months.

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