26 Feb 2024

Golriz Ghahraman facing another charge as court date for former Green MP pushed back again

8:06 pm on 26 February 2024

By George Block of NZ Herald

Green MP Golriz Ghahraman

Former Green MP Golriz Ghahraman resigned in January after shoplifting allegations were made public. Photo: RNZ / Cole Eastham-Farrelly

Police are laying a fourth charge against former Green MP Golriz Ghahraman, who had her first court appearance for alleged shoplifting delayed again.

The former lawyer was due to appear in the Auckland District Court on Wednesday morning to face three shoplifting charges for nearly $10,000 worth of goods she allegedly took from two boutique stores.

On Monday, the Auckland District Court registry confirmed Ghahraman's first appearance had been pushed back to 20 March, following an earlier adjournment in January after a third shoplifting charge emerged.

Ghahraman's lawyer Annabel Cresswell confirmed to the Herald police were laying a new charge against her client.

Cresswell said it was a standard adjournment for when a new charge was laid.

Police were considering diversion and other issues that were considered at this early stage in the court process, she explained.

The Herald has yet to obtain details of a fourth charge.

Details from court documents for the first three charges show the 43-year-old is accused of stealing $2060 of clothing from Scotties Boutique in Auckland's Ponsonby on 21 December, and $7223 worth of clothing from the same store two days later last year.

Both of the Auckland charges carry a maximum penalty of seven years in prison.

Ghahraman is also charged with stealing $695 worth of clothing from Wellington's Cre8iveworx store on 22 October last year. That charge carries a maximum penalty of one year in prison.

Wellington store Cre8iveworx - makes complaint to police over Green MP Golriz Ghahraman

Golriz Ghahraman is accused of stealing from Cre8iveworx in Wellington. Photo: RNZ / Samantha Mythen

The total value of items she is alleged to have shoplifted is $9978.

In an earlier statement, Ghahraman, who resigned from Parliament in January, apologised for her behaviour and said she did not excuse her actions.

She cited "extreme stress" and linked it to previously unrecognised trauma. She said she was seeking help from mental health professionals.

In her statement, Ghahraman said the stress had led her to act in ways that were "completely out of character.

"I am not trying to excuse my actions, but I do want to explain them.

"The mental health professional I see says my recent behaviour is consistent with recent events giving rise to extreme stress response, and relating to previously unrecognised trauma.

"People should, rightly, expect the highest standards of behaviour from their elected representatives. I fell short. I'm sorry. It's not a behaviour I can explain because it's not rational in any way, and after medical evaluation, I understand I'm not well.

"It is a great honour to serve as a Member of Parliament. I am proud of my advocacy work on human rights and foreign affairs, and particularly proud of campaigns that resulted in practical improvements to the electoral laws governing donations and overseas voting."

This story was originally published by the NZ Herald.

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