Appeals Court upholds decision against former cop accused of stealing cheese
A former policewoman convicted in 2012 of stealing a slice of cheese worth "a little" $100 from a supermarket in 2008 has lost her bid to have the conviction and sentence thrown out.
In dismissing the appeal by Georgette Tyndale, the Court of Appeal upheld a Manchester court's decision sentencing her to a probation order for two years.
"The subject of the theft was a miserly piece of cheese valued at little over $100. This makes this a truly disturbing case," wrote Justice Carol Edwards, the author of the unanimous judgment.
According to the court documents, the woman, who was a police constable at the time, took the cheese from a shelf and hid it on another shelf between two bottles of water.
She later retrieved it and deliberately dropped it into her handbag.
Tyndale did not pay for the cheese when at the cashier's desk, where she paid for other items she had picked up.
When accosted by a senior employee who had been watching her, she denied stealing the cheese and later offered to pay for it.
The Super Plus Food Store did not accept the offer of payment and the policewoman was charged with simple larceny.
According to her, the cheese fell into her bag while she accepted some money for a security guard.
The former policewoman's lawyer had argued that the lower court had erred in determining that there was an intent to steal and that the transaction process was not complete.
But the Appeal Court accepted the decision of parish judge Oswald Burchenson that the moment she placed the cheese in her bag, she had shown an intent to steal.
The court held that she had the opportunity to pay for the cheese at the cashier and did not.
INTENT ON LARCENY
The Court of Appeal further agreed with the lower court's ruling that knowing that she had taken up the cheese, the ex-policewoman should have enquired where it was while at the cashier.
Suggesting that her reasoning was bizarre, the high court judges rejected the argument that she did not get her receipt or change from the cashier.
The judges argued that there was no dispute that she did not pay for the cheese at the cashier's desk.
They said at the point where she cashed the goods in the basket and did not cash the cheese, it was their considered view that all the elements of the offence of larceny were present.
"In the context of a supermarket, every honest customer intends to permanently deprive the supermarket owner of the goods they choose off the shelf, but this is usually coupled with the intent to offer to purchase those goods and to tender the purchase price at the cashier counter. The dishonest customer is an entirely different species," Edwards wrote.