'Now you are in big ladies court, you get big charges', judge tells teen thief

An 18-year-old woman who has spent much of her youth in the judicial system was told in the Timaru District Court now you are in big ladies court, you get big charges.
Natalie Fowler appeared before Judge David Ruth in the Timaru District Court on Tuesday on charges of burglary, theft and shoplifting.

You have pleaded guilty to a number of theft charges and burglary, you have spent all of your young life in the jurisdiction of Youth Court.

The rules now change, many attempts at rehabilitation have failed, now you are in big ladies court, you get big charges, Judge Ruth said.

Crown prosecutor Toaiva Hitila, reading from the summary of facts, said Fowler walked into the reception area of a motor lodge in Timaru on January 23, 2021 and gained entry behind the counter which was closed to members of the public.

Fowler opened a draw and took a black box containing $152 before leaving the property. The incident was captured on CCTV.

Two days later, Fowler twice went to petrol stations in Timaru where no attempt was made to pay for fuel.

In one instance, she filled a petrol can with about $15 of petrol, then fled the forecourt and ran down the road. In the second instance she drove off without paying for $40 petrol.

On January 26, Fowler drove into a petrol station at Rolleston and put about $40 of petrol in her vehicle.

When she attempted to pay for the fuel, her debit card was declined, so she left the store, telling staff she was going to get another card from her car.

She returned to her vehicle, entered the drivers seat and drove away.

On February 12, Fowler entered a Timaru department store, picked up a computer monitor valued at $199 and left the store without paying for it.

Defence lawyer Jonathan Loh said: I would request that a report be obtained to shed some light on the offending.

This is her first time in District Court, what is her position for reparation? Judge Ruth asked.

She has employment and can make reparation, the amount is underdetermined at the moment, Loh replied.

Loh approached Fowler in the dock.

She can make $20 reparation, she is paid fortnightly, she can pay $20 fortnightly, Fowler told the court.

Judge Ruth then ordered Fowler to pay about $450 in reparations and sentenced her to 100 hours community work.


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