A cleaner at the St. John’s Magistrates’ Court has been detained and taken into custody on suspicion of the larceny of a bottle of rum.
A source says the bottle fell from the woman’s clothing and shattered on the floor when the cleaner bumped into her supervisor as they were cleaning the lobby.
According to the source, the bottle of alcohol had been left in the courtroom following a case heard on Monday, January 30, when a man was convicted and fined for stealing the item from the Perry Bay Supermarket.
A restitution order had been made for the bottle of rum to be returned to the supermarket; however, at the time, the investigator responsible for taking it back had already left the precincts of the court.
The bottle would have been handed over to him the following day, Tuesday, to complete the court’s order.
The source says that, just after the bottle broke, Chief Magistrate Joanne Walsh arrived at work and saw the broken bits of brown glass. She immediately remembered that a similar bottle had been left inside her courtroom and instructed her clerk to check on it.
Reports say the clerk returned with the news that the bottle of rum was missing.
An attempt was made to question the cleaner, but she had already left the compound – reportedly after hurrying to clean up the mess left by the broken rum bottle.
According to the source, a police officer stationed at the court was instructed to call the cleaner and instruct her to return immediately.
When the woman arrived and was questioned about the alcoholic beverage, she claimed she had brought the bottle from her home.
After realizing that the authorities were not accepting her story, the cleaner reportedly offered a second explanation: this time, stating that she had seen the bottle in the courtroom and had moved it to clean the area.
However, she could not explain why she had taken it from the courtroom after cleaning and what it was doing in her clothes.
The source says the woman would not accept responsibility for stealing the bottle of alcohol. Neither would she offer to pay the $10 at which it was valued, since, because of the restitution order, it meant that the supermarket had to be compensated for the broken item.
The sergeant stationed at the courthouse subsequently took the woman into custody and transported her to the police station.
Reportedly, the chief magistrate no longer wants the woman working at the court, since, allegedly, for several months, things have been going missing – including items left in the refrigerator by members of staff.