Woman spared more jail for drugging plot

Marissa Tofield has avoided a jail sentence for conspiring to drug her friend's abusive partner.
Marissa Tofield has avoided a jail sentence for conspiring to drug her friend's abusive partner.

A Sydney woman won't have to return to custody for plotting to drug her mate's abusive partner.

Marissa Tofield was on Monday sentenced to a one-year community corrections order for conspiring to cause a person to take an intoxicating substance to cause distress or pain in December 2019.

Police uncovered the plot between the two mates while taping the partner's phone during an unrelated investigation.

A later search of Tofield's home revealed 15mL of GHB.

Based on facts settled by Tofield, Judge Dina Yehia on Monday said the offence took place in four calls over one day "in the context of knowing her friend had suffered serious domestic violence".

That context "does not excuse" the illegal plot but did explain it and distinguish it from "more self-serving" crimes of the type, the Sydney District Court judge said.

Hours after the calls, the friend and her partner settled a debt in a side street, argued, went out drinking and went their separate ways.

A witness later saw the partner hitting the friend more than a dozen times, including about six times to the head.

Tofield's "misguided loyalty" to her friend was also informed by her childhood experience of family violence, which included abuse from her father and various people who were meant to care for her and her six sisters.

The offender, who was 27 when arrested, spent two-and-a-half months in custody after she was refused bail on an initial charge of conspiracy to murder.

That charge was later withdrawn and replaced with the lesser charge, leading to Tofield's guilty plea.

Judge Yehia accepted the plea showed remorse and the offender's "extremely compelling" personal circumstances reduced her moral culpability.

Tofield had shown a genuine intention to take part in counselling for her substance abuse and underlying trauma, enhancing her prospects of rehabilitation, the judge said.

Clare Dawson, the offender's friend, disputes a charge against her and has aired a wish to go to trial next year.

1800 RESPECT (1800 737 732)

Australian Associated Press