Woman left store with goods in purse

Suspended sentence for second offence of dishonesty

Betty Sharon Pollard, 39, was sentenced to nine months imprisonment, suspended for two years, after Magistrate Nova Hall found her guilty of theft. 

The incident of alleged shoplifting occurred on 23 December, 2010, and involved cosmetics and personal care products with a value of $98.08. 

Pollard denied stealing the items, saying she was leaving the store to go to her car to get the money to pay for them. She did have money in the car. 

However, Crown witnesses said Pollard was observed at Foster’s Food Fair putting the items in a shopping basket provided by the store and later removing them from the basket and putting them in her handbag. 

She was already through the exit door when the security guard stopped her. 

At the sentencing hearing, the magistrate said Pollard had given a different account of events when speaking with a probation officer for a social inquiry report. Defence attorney John Furniss said Pollard did not intend to steal: “She wasn’t thinking,” he told the court. 

The magistrate did not accept that explanation. 

She said the officer preparing the report had used a standardised scale to assess risk of further offending and Pollard was assessed as being of low risk. However, there was an administrative override that took the level to medium risk. 

Mr. Furniss endorsed the idea of community service as part of a sentence, advising Pollard had lost her job when it was discovered she had a previous conviction for dishonesty. But she had been industrious and had another job.  

The magistrate said she could not ignore the previous conviction, although it was in different circumstances.  

“My primary concern is that you do not commit further offences of this nature,” she told the defendant. 

Along with the suspended sentence, she required Pollard to participate in all programmes as directed by her probation officer. “If you breach these terms or commit a further offence you can look forward to the nine months being activated,” she said.