Rosa George, 27 and mother to a three-year-old child, appeared before Chief Justice Hugh Williams.
The defendant, who was charged in 2016, was represented by lawyer Mark Short,
She entered an early guilty plea on September 2016.
Alex Herman of Crown Law said the defendant was charged with nine counts of theft as a servant, which under the 1969 Cook Islands Crimes Act section 1A and section 249/2; carried a maximum penalty of five years’ imprisonment on each count.
Herman said between May 26 and July 7 in 2015, the defendant stole $1,700 from her employer, the Business Trade Investment Board (BTIB). The matter was reported by the BTIB.
She said the defendant had broken the trust between herself and her employers and the community, and it was not a one-off incident.
In mitigation, she said George was appearing in court for the first time and had entered an early guilty plea.
Short said the defendant had received a good education. She had everything working for her but had made a decision that had led to her going “downhill”. She was now trying to put her life back on track and he suggested reparation payment would be penalty enough.
Justice Williams said he did not want to send George to jail, but the Court of Appeal stated that for such a charge, a starting point of one to two years’ imprisonment must be looked at.
Considering how much George could earn in a week, her cost of living and the fact that she was looking after her child, Justice Williams said a jail term was not possible. He questioned whether the defendant’s partner would be able to look after the child.
Justice Williams sentenced and convicted George to 24 months’ probation and ordered her to pay reparation of $1,700 to BTIB at $20 a week.
If George failed to pay the reparations she would appear in court again for breaking probation, he added.