Supermarket scratch card case collapses

Charges were brought four years ago

After awaiting trial since 2010, two people were found not guilty Wednesday of charges arising from a supermarket promotional game called “Punch ‘N’ Play.” 

Justice Charles Quin instructed the Grand Court jury to return not guilty verdicts after he rejected the Crown’s request for an adjournment. Two trial dates had already been vacated. 

Andre Ricardo David Espeut had been charged with obtaining a check for $1,000 by deception in September 2010 from Foster’s Food Fair, by falsely representing that a Punch ‘N’ Play card had that winning value, instead of its actual value of $1. 

Sasha Anglin Espeut was charged with attempting to obtain $2,500 from Foster’s in September 2010, by falsely representing that a Punch ‘N’ Play card was for that value, instead of its actual value of $1. 

Defense attorneys Lucy Organ and Fiona Robertson on Tuesday objected to a document that Crown Counsel Toyin Salako wanted to use in the prosecution’s case.  

The document was a spreadsheet detailing every card number issued during the promotion, plus the prize value for each of the cards.  

At issue was an adjournment requested by Crown counsel in order to obtain verification of the document. The judge rejected the request. 

In his written order to finalize the case, Justice Quin noted that “Defense also stated that this matter has been the subject of continuous review by the Crown and one is therefore unable to understand how what the crown itself has described as ‘fundamental information for the case’ is now missing.” 

Four men and three women were charged in the Punch ‘N’ Play scam when the matter first came to court in March 2011. One man and one woman pleaded guilty in Summary Court, and each was placed on probation with no conviction recorded. Each offense had involved one transaction with one 
altered card. 

Two men were sentenced in Grand Court. One was sentenced to 180 hours of community service and ordered to pay $5,000 compensation. The other received the maximum 240 hours community service; he had already repaid the money received. The crown offered no evidence against a woman who was described as this man’s “innocent conduit.” 

The not guilty verdicts in Mr. and Mrs. Espeut’s case bring the Punch ‘N’ Play matters to a close. 

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