Fri | Aug 18, 2017

Manchester ex-cop loses appeal against conviction, sentence for stealing a slice of cheese

Published:Friday | July 22, 2016 | 7:31 PM

Jovan Johnson, Staff Reporter

A former policewoman convicted for stealing a slice of cheese worth just over $100 from a supermarket in 2008, has lost her bid to have the conviction and sentence thrown out.

Georgette Tyndale, took the matter to the Court of Appeal after the Manchester Resident's Magistrate Court found her guilty of simple larceny in 2012 and sentenced her to a probation order for two years. 

This means that for the period, she would have to be counselled by the probation officer.

"The subject of the theft was a miserly piece of cheese valued at little over $100.00. This makes this a truly disturbing case," wrote Justice Carol Edwards, the author of the unanimous judgment.  

The cheese was stolen from Super Plus Supermarket in Mandeville, Manchester.

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 at the cashier's desk where she paid for other items she had picked up.

When accosted by a senior employee who was watching her, she denied stealing the cheese and later offered to pay for it. 

The store did not accept the offer of payment and the cop was then was charged for simple larceny.

According to her, the cheese fell into her bag while she accepted some money for a security guard. 

The former cop's lawyer had argued that the lower court hard 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 senior parish judge, Oswald Burchenson, that the moment she placed the cheese in her bag she had shown an intent to steal.

The court also held that she had the opportunity to pay for the cheese at the cashier and did not. 

The Court of Appeal further agreed with the lower court's ruling that knowing that she had taken up the cheese, the ex-cop should have enquired where it was while at the cashier.

Suggesting that the ex-cop's 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 is no dispute that she did not pay for the cheese at the cashier‘s desk.

They also said at the point where she cashed the goods in her basket, she did not pay for the cheese.

"It is our considered view that at that point 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.