A Wellington woman who stalked an American Harry Potter fan site editor for more than eight years has been ordered to undergo compulsory community mental health treatment.
The woman, who cannot be named, has been stalking the female Harry Potter “historian” and website editor since 2008.
Despite efforts by police and the courts, the woman, who has autism, intellectual disabilities and suffers from mental illness, has continued to send letters, emails and postcards to the editor, who is based in New York.
She had the internet disconnected at her home, and internet-capable devices banned as part of her conditions relating to previous charges, but gained access to an internet cafe.
The victim, who was also granted name suppression on Wednesday, said the woman’s attention had been relentless.
“Every time I would find a way to block her, she would find a way around it.”
In September last year the accused was found not guilty of criminal harassment by reason of insanity.
As well as sending emails and postcards, she got tattoos on her body of women resembling her victim, and sometimes dressed up as a wizard at home.
Judge Denys Barry found her not guilty and asked for psychiatric assessments to be conducted so the court could make a decision on the next best step.
On Wednesday, the woman appeared in Wellington District Court, where Judge Peter Butler ordered her to undergo compulsory mental health treatment within the community.
Butler said he took the advice of forensic psychiatrist Justin Barry-Walsh, who prepared the psychiatric report, and ordered the woman to undergo mental health treatment under the Criminal Procedure (Mentally Impaired Persons) Act.
Compulsory treatment could include the injecting of prescription anti-psychotic medication.
The woman’s lawyer, Mike Antunovic, said he agreed with the report’s recommendations.
Her family have spoken about her mental illness in the past, saying they were working with healthcare professionals to get her treatment.
She was supported in court by her family on Wednesday and cried as the judge handed down his order.
She was first charged by police in 2012, but given diversion, and charged again in 2014 after she continued to make contact with the victim.
The FBI has also investigated her.
In her victim impact statement, the website editor implored the judge to send her stalker to prison.
The judge explained this was not an option, because of the not-guilty sentence.
He said he hoped the treatment would help the woman live “a more independent life” and help stop her stalking behaviour.