Former immigration chief Mary Anne Thompson believed "in her head" that she had a doctorate from the London School of Economics while applying for top level government posts.
Thompson, 53, faces two charges of using a document a curriculum vitae with intent to obtain a pecuniary advantage and one of attempting to use a document.
At a depositions hearing in Wellington District Court yesterday, Crown lawyer Grant Burston outlined the case against Thompson, saying though she did work toward a master of philosophy with the top-ranked school, she was never awarded a PhD.
During a police interview, Thompson acknowledged she did not hold a doctorate but had believed "in her head" she had one.
She resigned from the senior position in the Labour Department last year after being accused of a conflict of interest for helping family members gain residency in New Zealand.
Thompson had applied and got jobs at the Maori Affairs Ministry, the Treasury, Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, and the Labour Department, and wrote a book using the title "doctor".
Mr Burston said after gaining a bachelor of arts with first class honours at Victoria University, Thompson applied to the London School of Economics and was accepted into the master of philosophy course, and later transferred to a PhD course.
In 1983 she left London to live in Kiribati and was accepted into the school's thesis programme.
She sent a thesis draft to the school in 1989 but it was sent back with comments that it needed a lot more work and was half way between a masters and a doctorate degree.
The school's documents showed a reproduction of the declaration for her masters in philosophy but not for a PhD degree.
Mr Burston said that in 1990 she sent bound copies of her thesis for examination but she did not undergo the oral examination, and as a result no degree or master of philosophy was confirmed.
He outlined the jobs Thompson had applied to within the government falsely asserting she had the doctorate degree from the school.
Contracts were drawn up using the title doctor before her name.
Perhaps she was another "victim" of the dreaded narcissistic personality disorder which later took hold of Clayton Weatherston's mind. That is the only thing that we can think of, which would drive an apparently intelligent woman to claim that she was something that she wasn't. But then you read this bit:
In 2004 she applied for the job of chief executive of the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet but when challenged about the veracity of her claim to be a doctor, she withdrew her application, citing personal and lifestyle reasons.
Hello! The alarm bells sounded in 2004, and there was suspicion that Mary Anne Thompson was not who she said she was, or more specifically, who her head said she was! And yet Thompson was allowed to stay on as head of the Immigration Service until the excrement hit the air-conditioner in April 2008. We smell a very large, very stinky kiore mate (dead rat).