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Stephen Burns phoned his ex-partner’s employer and asked that she be fired. Photo / Stock Image 123rf
A scathing ex phoned the hospital his former girlfriend is employed by and made a number of false allegations about her workplace behaviour, sparking an employment investigation.
Stephen Robert Burns, 47, made the anonymous call to Te Whatu Ora Taranaki, formerly the Taranaki District Health Board, last month, asking to speak to the head of the public health nurses.
Once the right person was on the phone, he asked if his phone number could be identified, Police prosecutor John Simes told New Plymouth District Court on Thursday.
Burns then lodged numerous false allegations about his ex-partner’s “inappropriate” workplace behaviour and requested that she be sacked.
But his slurs must have got to Burns, because three days later he phoned the person he made the claims to and retracted the allegations.
He apologised for wasting the manager’s time.
Despite this, the health board still had to go through a complaints resolution process with the woman, which caused her significant stress, Simes told the court.
At the time of the calls, a protection order was in place, protecting the woman from Burns.
The pair had been in a relationship for around two years and during that time police were alerted to 14 family harm incidents between them.
In March this year, Burns was served with a final protection order, which he has now pleaded guilty to breaching.
Defence lawyer Nina Laird said Burns has since commenced counselling to help him process the end of the relationship.
The Eltham man is employed and has ample support around him, Laird said.
He was also very remorseful for his offending, she submitted, adding he had described his actions as “nasty”.
Laird asked for the matter to be referred to restorative justice but Judge Lynne Harrison said that would be inappropriate.
She was concerned Burns might get the wrong idea about the meeting.
Simes confirmed the victim was not interested in meeting with Burns for restorative purposes.
Judge Harrison did not make the referral, though she did order a presentence report ahead of Burns’ sentencing on December 6.
He currently remains on bail with his conditions including not to contact the woman or her place of work.