Damage, theft charges dismissed

Costs of items and repair total $874.95

Two fire extinguishers, a soap
dispenser, mirror and door lock were the subjects of a theft charge against
former radio talk show host and political candidate Sandra Catron. She was also
charged with wilfully causing damage to the interior of a unit she had rented
at Centennial Towers.

After the Crown completed its
evidence earlier this month, Ms Catron argued there was no case for her to
answer. On Wednesday afternoon, Chief Magistrate Margaret Ramsay-Hale agreed
with her and dismissed the charges.

They arose from incidents in
November 2009 at the commercial complex in West Bay where Ms Catron had rented
space. In the process of vacating the unit, she removed fixtures and damaged a
partition she had paid to have installed.

Crown Counsel Tanya Lobban called witnesses
who explained what damage had been done and under what circumstances. The cost
to repair the damage was $702.60. The value of the items removed was $172.35.

Ms Catron cited a high court
decision stating that no offence is committed if the person damaging the
property of another does so in the honest but mistaken belief that the property
is his own.

Ms Lobban argued that the defendant
had acted in bad faith, deliberately destroying the partition because there was
no agreement in place to compensate her for it.

The magistrate said the Crown had
failed to prove a dishonest intent. She pointed to evidence that the owners’
initial position was that the renter should put the unit back as it was when
she rented it. They then advised her that she did not have permission to remove
anything. If the owners did not know the terms of their contract, how could the
defendant, the magistrate concluded.

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