Man got gas on employer’s account

Chief magistrate imposes prison term

Bryan Edward Smith was sentenced last Thursday to three months imprisonment after admitting that he got gas on his employer’s account without permission. He pleaded guilty to obtaining property by deception, the property being $997.96 worth of gas, between 12 July and 31 August 2011 from a station on West Bay Road. 

He also pleaded guilty to false accounting — giving the registration number of a vehicle that was not the number of the vehicle he was driving when he obtained the gas. 

Crown Counsel Nicole Petit said Smith, now 31, was employed as a bus driver for about six months. There was an account at the gas station where the employer and some employees could sign for goods and services received. Smith was not one of the employees to whom this privilege was extended. 

When the employer went to the station to check his account, he was given a figure he knew was too high. Records were checked and they showed that Smith had received gas on various occasions, saying he had permission. When confronted, Smith denied the allegation and police were called as a result. 

Officers investigated the matter, collecting various invoices. They arrested Smith in October and he admitted the offences. Ms Petit noted that he had no previous convictions. 

Chief Magistrate Nova Hall said theft by an employee is taken very seriously and custody is the usual sentence unless something could be shown about the offender’s particular circumstances. 

She thanked a probation officer for the social inquiry report prepared about Smith. She said she noted his personal circumstances, but did not see anything about why the offence was committed. 

Smith explained his family situation, indicating financial problems. 

The magistrate asked if he wanted to say anything else. 

“Nothing else,” he replied. After a few moments he added, “I’m sorry for what happened.” 

The magistrate said she took note of his remorse, but it seemed to be the type expressed when “one is sorry one was caught.” 

She said she saw nothing in his report that urged her to depart from the usual sentence for theft from an employer. 

Chief Magistrate Nova Hall said theft by an employee is taken very seriously and custody is the usual sentence unless something could be shown about the offender’s particular circumstances.