Convicted fraudster Melissa Quinn is appealing her two-year jail sentence.
Convicted fraudster Melissa Quinn is appealing her two-year jail sentence. Marc Stapelberg

Casino mum faked cancer for sympathy, court hears

CONVICTED fraud Melissa Quinn is appealing her two year jail sentence on mental health grounds, after a forensic psychiatrist diagnosed her with a condition whose symptoms include faking illness for attention.

The Casino mother of four, 35, appeared before Lismore District Court this morning represented by barrister Ben Cochrane.

Crown prosecutor Alanna Coxon told the court the matter was previously adjourned so the defence could deliver a psychiatrist report on the Crown.

"The matter is slightly unusual in that Ms Quin pleaded guilty to several counts of obtain financial advantage by deception... the deception was for a number of years... (and she) obtained several thousand dollars," Ms Coxon told Judge Phillip Mahony.

Casino woman Melissa Irene Quinn outside Lismore Court House on Tuesday morning. (August 28, 2018)after appearing in the District Court to appeal her fraud conviction.
Casino woman Melissa Irene Quinn outside Lismore Court House on Tuesday morning. (August 28, 2018)after appearing in the District Court to appeal her fraud conviction. Hamish Broome

Ms Coxon said she received the expert report from psychiatrist Dr Olav Nielssen late last week.

Dr Nielssen had diagnosed Quinn with both depression and 'factitious disorder'.

Factitious disorder is when a person fakes illness in order to receive special attention and sympathy from those around them.

Ms Coxon said the Crown needed time to assess the report and consider whether prosecutors should obtain their own independent report.

"Do you seek leave to introduce fresh evidence?" Judge Mahony asked.

Ms Coxon said the forensic psychiatrist Dr Nielssen, from St Vincent's Hospital in Sydney, may be required for cross examination at a future hearing.

Judge Mahony agreed to adjourn the matter until next Wednesday, September 5, for mention. Ms Quinn was excused from appearing.

A date for the appeal hearing will be scheduled then.

Between November 2014 and June 2016 the former state cricketer faked three types of terminal cancer, sparking a huge effort from the Casino community, and Cricket NSW, to raise almost $50,000 to support her purported life-saving medical treatment.  

In March, following a police investigation, she was charged with four counts of dishonestly obtaining financial advantage by deception, one ccount of making false document to obtain financial advantage, and using a false document to obtain financial advantage.  

She pleaded guilty and in June was sentenced to two years jail, with a minimum non-parole period of nine months.  



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