Employees sentenced for thefts

Two defendants were sentenced to terms of imprisonment after pleading guilty to theft in the workplace.

Cherry Ulett-Scott, 41, received two concurrent terms of 12 months for thefts from the National Building Society of the Cayman Islands and Bank of Nova Scotia. Her attorney, Mr Menelik Miller, did not appeal.

Kevin Fyne, 26, received a term of six months for theft from the National Building Society. Attorney James Austin-Smith asked for the sentence to be stayed pending a hearing in the Court of Appeal on 22 November, which was approved.

The Crown is appealing a recent sentence for employee theft and has asked the Court of Appeal to set guidelines for offences involving breach of trust. Several cases have been adjourned until the higher court hears the matter.

Crown Counsel Kirsty-Ann Gunn set out details of the offences and the defence attorneys spoke in mitigation. They referred to sentencing precedents as these have developed in the UK since 1985 for persons employed in positions of trust.

Fyne’s offences were committed from 1997 to January 1999. He was about 19 when he started as a junior teller. He accepted deposits and failed to deposit the money into the customers’ accounts.

This defendant pleaded guilty to five counts of theft and five counts of false accounting involving a total of $30,000. All but $2,000 had been recovered or repaid by the time he was sentenced.

He admitted his wrongdoing in 1999 and was re-employed to help uncover fraudulent activity of other staff members. He was willing to give evidence for the Crown. Fyne’s sentencing was delayed through no fault of his own.

Ulett-Scott’s offences at National were committed between July 2000 and January 2001 and involved nearly $4,000. She was a cashier and failed to deposit money into customers’ accounts. She pleaded guilty to eight counts of theft or false accounting.

This defendant resigned from National in April 2001and went to the Bank of Nova Scotia. In December 2001 she was interviewed about National and denied any wrongdoing. In February 2002, while on police bail, she committed further thefts. These totalled $6,126.57.

She again denied wrongdoing. There were several delays in getting the indictments to trial. On the day her trial was scheduled to start, 29 May 2006, she pleaded guilty to several counts.

The judge noted that Ulett-Scott had been reluctant to admit the thefts or show remorse through the social worker who prepared a pre-sentence report. She had not repaid the money.

Both defendants committed thefts while employed in positions of trust, he said. The offences were planned and deliberate, not momentary lapses of judgment.

The 1985 UK case of Barrick sets guidelines for dealing with theft or fraud by persons who abuse their position of trust. In general, imprisonment is inevitable except in exceptional circumstances and the court should pass a sentence sufficient to mark publicly the gravity of the offence.

Mr. Justice Sanderson said the question was whether either Fyne or Ulett-Scott presented any exceptional circumstances. In his opinion, neither did.

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