R v Chapman [2018] NZDC 3109

Published 13 December 2018

Sentencing — theft by person in a special relationship — dishonest use of a document. The defendant, Ms Chapman, appeared for sentencing relating to five charges, including four charges of dishonestly using a document, two of which were representative charges, and one representative charge of theft by a person in a special relationship. Each charge carried a maximum penalty of seven years' imprisonment. The defendant was a travel consultant, who took money from clients who wished to book holidays and used that money to pay for the travel arrangements of other people who had booked travel. Effectively, robbing Peter to pay Paul. The total amount of fraud was just under $708,000. The Court considered the relevant aggravating factors to be the extent of the loss, the harm to the victims, the gross breach of trust, the pre-meditation, the period over which the offending occurred, the number of victims and the amount of the fraud. The Judge also considered the cases of R v Vargan, R v Staples, McGregor v R, Tither v Police, James v R. The Judge began with a starting point of five years' imprisonment, before applying deductions for remorse, engaging in restorative justice, good character and guilty pleas. The defendant was sentenced to three years' imprisonment and an order for reparation in the sum of $10,000. Judgment Date: 16 February 2018.