Cleaner who took stolen bottle of alcohol, valued at $10, from courtroom is officially dismissed from government service

The woman who stole a bottle of rum from a St. John’s Magistrates Courtroom several weeks ago, while performing her cleaning duties, has been dismissed from the government service.

A source says her dismissal took place late last week and Chief Magistrate Joanne Walsh received an official communication of the decision from the permanent secretary.

The woman was reportedly given a number of opportunities to admit to the offence, but, instead, gave various versions of how the bottle of alcohol came into her possession.

A source says she never made an offer to repay the $10 at which the alcohol was valued – after the bottle fell from her clothing and broke.  Now, for that paltry sum, the former cleaner has been placed on the breadline, the person observes.

Reports say the All Saints Village woman was taken into custody on Tuesday, January 31, and was later arrested, charged and granted station bail.

She appeared before Chief Magistrate Walsh, charged with larceny, and pleaded guilty to the offence.  

She was then convicted and ordered to pay restitution for the item on Wednesday, February 1.  The alternative sentence was one month in prison. 

The bottle of alcohol was an exhibit from a case that was heard on January 30, in which a man was fined $100 for stealing it from a supermarket.

It had been left in a courtroom and was to be handed over to the investigator the following day, for return to the business place, since a restitution order had been made. 

Reportedly, the woman took it while she was cleaning that courtroom. However, while she was cleaning the lobby area, the bottle fell from her clothes after her supervisor accidentally bumped into her.  It hit the floor and shattered into pieces.

When checks were made for the item in the courtroom and it was discovered missing, the cleaner was questioned.

She reportedly said she had brought the bottle from home, but later changed her story, saying she had removed it from the courtroom while cleaning and had intended to take it back.

Reports say that, after the incident, Chief Magistrate Walsh and the staff did not want her back at the court, since items had been going missing over the past several months.