Face of the Day

via Stuff

A woman imprisoned for defrauding the government of $700,000 has been taking counselling programmes to free herself from what she calls a “jail constructed in her own head.”

Joanne Harrison was denied parole last week after being sentenced to three years and seven months in jail in February, for defrauding the Ministry of Transport using fake invoices.

In the board’s full decision, released today, her lawyer Nathan Phillip Bourke told the Parole Board that Harrison would not be in a position to re-offend in a similar way.

Her offending only occurred in high level management roles and she was unlikely to have that much authority again, he said.

Mr Bourke said Harrison had successfully completed all counselling opportunities available to her and she wished to return to the United Kingdom when released.

Harrison told the board she had been undertaking neuropsychotherapy involving acceptance and commitment therapy to deal with issues that lay deep in her past.

She said she had been able to confront them for the first time and free her from what she described as a “jail constructed in her own head”.

But the board said it was not satisfied that was sufficient to ensure Harrison would not re-offend and it was not convinced that her fraud would only be confined to a senior management role.

Nice to see some realism come from the Parole Board.  The woman clearly is a menace, and not even the parole board is willing to send her on her way to do it all over again in another country.

As for neuropsychotherapy involving acceptance and commitment therapy, I wish her all the best in beating her demons, but that doesn’t compensate for a sustained and cynical fraud that netted her $700k out of the taxpayers’ pockets.

I can but hope a prison sentence is indicated in another case where a multi-year sustained fraud took the taxpayer for a long ride and there has been absolutely no sign of contrition.  Somehow I feel the justice system will let Metiria off where others have had to pay for their crime.



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