A teacher's aide who blamed a weight loss drug for drastically increasing her libido before preparing a student for sex has received a suspended jail sentence of 12 months.
Newcastle County Court Judge Robert Stone said on Wednesday that Jackie Hays, 51, was repentant, unlikely to commit a crime and would continue psychiatric treatment in the community that was not available in prison.
Mr. Stone placed Hays, who sobbed in court as she was sentenced, for a good-conduct bond of 12 months after accepting that she was "immensely sorry" for the inappropriate behavior, which had been misplaced.
Free to walk: Jackie Hays has escaped from prison after receiving a suspended jail sentence of 12 months
The magistrate said Hays, who has been diagnosed with a borderline personality disorder, was disappointed with herself and had learned from her mistakes.
Hays pleaded guilty to grooming the 15-year-old student by sex in 2015 after falling in love with him. She sent him numerous explicit text messages.
The 51-year-old man addressed the boy's mother on Wednesday and said, "I'm sorry, dear." before leaving the court.
The teacher was accused of grooming one of her 15-year-old students to have sex at Medowie Christian School and is said to be "in love with him."
Hays blamed Duromine, the weight-loss drug, for making his sex drive dramatically increase and harming his judgment, but Stone discovered that the drug had not had a significant impact on his predatory behavior.
Legal Aid attorney Gillian Jewison had argued that Hays began taking Duromine four months before starting to target the teenager.
While there was no medical evidence linking the drug to Hays's offense, Ms. Jewison said that the mother of two friends noticed that she appeared to be "off the planet" and acting strangely.
When the detectives interviewed Hays, she described the text messages sent to the child as "filth."
Hays, who was 47 at the time, was willing to have sex with the teenager who attended the same Hunter Valley school where she and the child's mother worked. But she said she wanted to wait until she turned 16.
The mother of three was crying in court and she even said "I'm sorry darling". the verdict was announced to the mother of the victim
Stone said that the mother of three had had an unhappy marriage and that her emotional needs were not met when she began to sexmate the child.
"She knew I was doing something wrong … I knew it was very inappropriate," the magistrate said.
& # 39; Children should be protected from any sexual behavior, even if they are willing participants.
Prosecutors had asked Hays to be imprisoned.
She would have faced a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison if the case had been heard in the District Court, but prosecutors agreed to resolve the matter in the Local Court where the maximum penalty was two years.
Hays was initially charged in mid-2017 with five crimes for allegedly sending explicit text messages and phoning two students, but four charges were dropped after she agreed to plead guilty to one charge of grooming a child for sexual activity illicit