7 Feb 2011

Woman accused of fraud victim of witchhunt - lawyer

9:06 pm on 7 February 2011

The lawyer for a woman accused of defrauding the Ministry of Health has told the Wellington District Court her client is the victim of a witchhunt.

The woman, who has name suppression, denies seven charges of dishonestly using a document and two charges of making a false document.

The charges relate to $18,000 of carer support payments the woman received between February 2006 and September 2008 for people to help care for her disabled daughter.

The payments provide for temporary carers to give fulltime unpaid caregivers a break. They are intended to reimburse the costs of providing relief support and are not intended as a salary or wage.

The Crown says the accused did not pay the three temporary carers the amounts they were owed in cash, but instead gave them furniture and other gifts.

The defence says the woman is a victim of a witchhunt after being a witness in earlier litigation.

It says evidence she gave during that case prompted the investigation which led to her being charged.

The jury trial is expected to finish on Thursday.