'She's lost everything': How stress led to 'boiling point'
A FORMER prominent Ballina business owner has been sentenced over an incident in which she threatened a former staff member.
Belinda Catherine Nott, 40, appeared before Ballina Local Court on Thursday for sentencing over an intimidation charge that arose from an incident at the historic Ballina Manor on the afternoon of November 29 last year.
The boutique hotel, which Nott had previously owned, was in the hands of administrators and employee Tracey Johnson was assisting the new owners-to-be with a photo shoot when Nott arrived and unleashed a wave of abuse.
According to court documents, she told Ms Johnson at one point: "Get out or I'll throw you down the f***ing stairs".
Nott, the daughter of former Lismore mayor Jeff Champion, was serving a suspended sentence for fraud at the time.
Her solicitor, Vince Boss, lodged a guilty plea to the charge when the matter last went before court in May.
Mr Boss asked the court to accept that special circumstances would apply to Nott's case and suggested an alternative to full time custody.
He told the court his client's marriage had broken down and that she was seeking counselling help.
"One of the issues this lady faces at the moment is a significant amount of stress. She's essentially lost everything," Mr Boss said.
"You pleaded guilty to a charge of intimidation where you threatened to push one of your former employees down the stairs at the Manor house," Ms Stafford said.
"That carries a maximum of five years in jail.
"I'm not sending you to jail today but that shows how serious the offence is."
The court heard Nott was about five months into her suspended sentence at the time of the November, 2018 incident.
Ms Stafford found, however, that Nott could serve her new term of imprisonment in the community by way of an intensive corrections order.
She explained the intimidation offence fell "in the low range of objective seriousness".
"Obviously Ms Johnson was very scared about what happened but it was a short episode and while she didn't provoke it in any way I accept... there were many stressors in your life ... that led you to this boiling point," Ms Stafford said.
She sentenced Nott to a 15 month intensive corrections order for the breach, and a four month order for the intimidation offence.