Otago Daily Times

Dis­charged with­out con­vic­tion over chem­i­cal burn

- MELISSA NIGHTIN­GALE Crime · Incidents · Wellington, New Zealand · Wanaka · Argentina · New Zealand

WELLING­TON: A dis­grun­tled ten­ant who gave her land­lord a chem­i­cal burn by pour­ing bleach into her sham­poo has been let off with­out pun­ish­ment.

Aida Rolon (29) ap­peared in the Hutt Val­ley Dis­trict Court yes­ter­day af­ter­noon, where she pleaded guilty to wound­ing with reck­less dis­re­gard for safety.

She had been rent­ing a room in her land­lord’s home in Wanaka since Oc­to­ber last year, but moved out at the end of April due to ‘‘un­rest in the house­hold’’, a sum­mary of facts said.

Judge Tim Black said in court yes­ter­day Rolon and the vic­tim’s mother, who also lived in the house, ex­pe­ri­enced con­flict dur­ing that time, in­clud­ing in­ci­dents where the other woman al­legedly ru­ined Rolon’s cloth­ing and other items with ‘‘gra­tu­itous use of bleach’’.

‘‘In ef­fect, you’ve de­cided to take your re­venge by ru­in­ing some­thing of hers,’’ Judge Black said.

Be­fore mov­ing out, Rolon went into the shared bath­room and poured hospi­tal grade dis­in­fec­tant bleach into the sham­poo and con­di­tioner bot­tles in the shower.

‘‘You say, and I ac­cept, that you didn’t have any real ap­pre­ci­a­tion that any­one would use that sham­poo be­cause you thought that as soon as some­one put it on to their hand they would smell the bleach and know it had been tam­pered with,’’ Judge Black said.

But the land­lord did not no­tice the smell, and ended up suf­fer­ing a chem­i­cal burn to her eye.

She had an un­der­ly­ing med­i­cal con­di­tion which left her with dam­aged nerves around the left side of her face, mean­ing she could not com­pletely close her left eye­lid.

‘‘In­juries to her left eye that would be mi­nor to most peo­ple, se­ri­ously risk the per­ma­nent eye­sight in the vic­tim’s left eye,’’ the sum­mary of facts said.

The vic­tim’s chem­i­cal burn was treated pro­fes­sion­ally over more than two weeks to save her sight.

Judge Black said fac­tors mit­i­gat­ing the of­fend­ing in­cluded Rolon’s pre­vi­ous good char­ac­ter, her guilty plea and her ac­knowl­edge­ment a repa­ra­tion pay­ment should be made.

He said a con­vic­tion could put her at risk of de­por­ta­tion to her home coun­try of Ar­gentina, which car­ried with it the risk of con­tract­ing Covid­19. The con­se­quences of a con­vic­tion would be out of pro­por­tion with the grav­ity of the of­fend­ing, he said.

He dis­charged Rolon with­out con­vic­tion, but or­dered her to pay $400 in repa­ra­tion to the vic­tim. — The New Zealand Her­ald

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