PTSD as defense fails to reduce sentence

A woman who stole nearly half a million dollars from her employer and claimed post-quake trauma was partly to blame has had an appeal against her jail sentence dismissed.

Joanne Christine McGregor was convicted of stealing $472,000 from her employer, Perpetual Trust, and sentenced to three years and 10 months’ jail in October last year. The Court of Appeal this week rejected an appeal that the sentence was too long.

McGregor had claimed her offending was caused in part by post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), triggered by the Christchurch earthquakes. She worked in the PGC building, which collapsed in the February 2011 quake, and many of her friends and colleagues died.

In sentencing, Judge Alistair Garland dismissed the PTSD claim, noting McGregor’s “calculated and deliberate series of thefts” started before the quakes and targeted elderly and vulnerable clients.