Ex-police clerk dodges jail over grocery card abuse

| 24/05/2018 | 54 Comments

(CNS): A local woman who worked as an accounts clerk with the RCIPS and misused a Kirk Supermarket charge card avoided going to jail Thursday, when a visiting judge handed her a 12-month sentence, suspended for 18 months. Sarah Connor (39) was charged alongside her workplace supervisor, Siscely Solomon, who jumped bail after she was arrested and has never returned to Cayman. Connor, however, faced her crime and admitted using the card, pleading guilty last October to breach of trust under the Anti-Corruption Law. 

Connor, who worked for the police for some 17 years and has no previous convictions, began using the card for her own shopping after confiding in Solomon about the very challenging financial circumstances she found herself in. She told Solomon that she was already struggling to feed the children after her former husband failed to pay maintenance for two of them, but when her new partner lost his job and was unable to help with her third child, things became really bad.

Solomon, who was sympathetic, gave her some of the charge cards for the grocery account the RCIPS had with Kirk Supermarket and even took her to the store to show her how to use it. Neither of the women were given permission to charge the cards for their own shopping, but at first Connor was paying back the value of the goods she had bought for herself at the end of the month as per the agreement.

Given that she was the person who managed the account, no one knew about the misuse. But as time went on and Connor got into further financial difficulties, the court heard that she began struggling to make the payments.

When Kirks eventually went to the RCIPS financial controller about the arrears on the account, Connor was confronted and she owned up. She denied stealing but later admitted to the breach of trust charge and accepted that she owed around CI$4,000.

After hearing submissions from both the crown and defence attorneys, Justice Carlisle Greaves turned to Shakespeare for guidance when he considered the punishment for what he admitted was a serious offence but in a case where justice needed to be tempered with mercy.

Likening local defence attorney, Margetta Facey-Clerk, who represented Connor, to Portia in the Merchant of Venice, he implied that crown counsel Toyin Salako was not going to get her pound of flesh. He said the play offered an illustration of how justice and mercy must be balanced, as he spoke of the harshness of common law versus the need for equity.

Accepting that this was no ordinary theft by an employee, as she was taking from the very authority that the community relies on for honesty, he also accepted the defence position that there were strong mitigating factors, including a letter from the police commissioner in response to her resignation, citing her sterling service to the RCIPS and his regret that she was leaving.

The judge said he believed she was in dire need, compounded by her ex-husband’s failure to support the children; he owed her CI$52,000 in past maintenance because the court had not enforced its own order. He pointed out that she demonstrated no intent to steal and the dire circumstances she began to find herself in were supported by emails to social services.

“A mother’s instinct for the security of her children even at her own risk of health, life and liberty is well-known,” he said, adding that the court was of the view that she should not go to prison. The judge said that every case must be judged according to its own facts and its own particular circumstances. “The sum in this case was not substantial,” he noted, as he  handed down the suspended term.

Having wept quietly throughout the hearing, Connor was eventually able to speak to the court and offer her sincerest apologies to the police and the Cayman government before she thanked the judge.

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Category: Courts, Crime

Comments (54)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    i think the judge kinda get the jist that most civil servants salary is not realistic with reference to the cost of living… they are on 2008 cost of living reality and the hovernment knows that????

  2. Rick says:

    She lost her reputation and employment, that is enough. The court and baby father failed her. They should be made to pay too.

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    • Anonymous says:

      I sympathize with this woman and I am happy she did not go to jail. I do agree that the ones who would have suffered most would have been her children.

      However, I hope this is a lesson for those other civil servants who think that that they can get away with pilfering government funds. Similarly, a wake up call for the supervisors who are failing to institute proper controls and oversight of spending in their purview.

      I totally agree with those who expressed the view that she appeared to have taken an easy way out of her dilemma. Get a second job — do what you are doing now — anything at all as long as it brings in the extra money you need. A lot of other women have done it — and the children have survived. On an island with extended family, were there not family somewhere on the island who could help to baby sit and supervise the children during the extra job?

      There are churches with community outreach programmes, soup kitchens, etc. Did she try the Children and Family Services?

      I am just saying that there are always options other than stealing. Come on Cayman — you can do better.

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  3. Anonymous says:

    When a deviation from socially accepted principles justified by a judge, it is a sign of societal regression.

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  4. Anonymous says:

    “A mother’s instinct for the security of her children…” You can’t make it up.
    Stealing isn’t immoral if you have a good reason??? No wonder everyone seems to be stealing here. Are they all have good reasons?
    There were a period in my life when we lived, no kidding, on $50 a week, after all bills were paid. My sons still remembers $99 cents pizzas. What did I do, as a mother? I had 3 jobs, starting at 4am and finishing close to midnight. I didn’t shy from “dirty” jobs.
    We didn’t go to any church or other handout places for “free” food. Kids had free meals at school and cheap, but nutritious home made meals at home. I didn’t blame their father, who, at that time had financial hardship himself. I simply worked, as much as I physically could.

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  5. Anonymous says:

    There are many people in Cayman that are suffering from financial issues. Lost a job, fell ill, can’t make mortgage/rent payments. Dead beat dads that aren’t supporting children, car broke down, etc. Do they all steal from their employers??? No,, so what example do we set when they do?? No excuse ever to steal from anyone,,, theft is theft,, it’s wrong,,

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  6. Anonymous says:

    I agree with the compassionate views of those who have written in, however, why didn’t the magistrate issue a order to pay back to the public purse the money spent? I agree a suspended sentence is appropriate but now why not pay back the money you stole?

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    • Anonymous says:

      I believe the reasoning was that … she couldn’t. So rather than sending her to debtor’s prison (for inability to pay back the money) the judge went with just the suspended sentence. CIG is not going to get their money back either way, and are going to have to pay for the kids through social services anyway, at least this way there’s not also a prison room-and-board bill as well.

  7. ANONYMOUS/CAYMANIAN says:

    oh boi here we go again.

    I’m a mother and I love my children dearly and would go that extra mile if I have to.

    It’s a sad situation, but Sarah should never had gone that route, and after been employed at a place for so long. That means her repartition is ruin for life, because when Caymanians do things like this it’s a no, no there after, but any other nationality will be employed probably the next day with a higher position and salary too. SM! (Only Cayman Islands this crap can happen.)

    There’s an office called Social Services-(NAU) she should have been consistent on them to assist her, that’s what there for. All those expats comes here and gets help and most of them don’t need it, well they would have had to help me & my children.

    But I pray & hope that Sarah will get a well paid job again soon, so that she can provide for her children and her life will be back to normal.

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    • Annon says:

      Her reputation won’t be ruined ask that girl that stole from the bank and built a big house with Frank Hall homes near the Savannah Meadows. She’s in a high position with another company. It’s really who you know for her to bounce back.

  8. SHAME THE X HUSBAND/BABY FATHER says:

    And the damn ex husband XXXXX should be ashamed of himself. I am glad Sara came clean and also resign, a real women and hats off to you. What sense would it make for her to go to jail and we having to feed 3 kids same way. Kudos to the judge.

    Any man/woman that works for CIG and is separated from his wife/husband/side thing with kids should have maintenance money deducted from their salary every month, maybe they will stop going around having kids for every women/man they can grind off.

    I pray that Sara will get her life together and focus on her kids and do not have to go through this ever again.

    Sara may god continue to bless you and your 3 kids.

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  9. Anonymous says:

    I love children and would love to have some of my own one day…..but right now it will not be happening.

    Why?

    Because i just can’t afford them. It’s called being grown, accepting your situation, and not expecting anyone to help you. I refuse to become a statistic and depend on social services, or end up stealing to make ends meet.

    When you take from someone, you leave them with less than they had before…..it’s selfish and ignorant behavior.

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  10. Anonymous says:

    “A mother’s instinct for the security of her children even at her own risk of health, life and liberty is well-known,” he said, adding that the court was of the view that she should not go to prison. The judge said that every case must be judged according to its own facts and its own particular circumstances. “

    How many Fathers are sitting up in Northward right now, because they were forced to break the law to survive…

    I empathize with this mother, but I strongly doubt that this judge would have been as lenient on a father

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  11. castro says:

    Wise judge they should clone him.
    And 742 i hope u get put in a position where u either have to cut your arm off or stay in the trap and burn.

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    • Anonymous says:

      I’ll go fishing, or agouti hunting. Kids dont tend to be too picky when they’re hungry. Hell I’d even sell my iPhone X if it came down to it.

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  12. Anonymous says:

    Perhaps if the loser father were named and shamed fewer would abandon their children this way.

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    • Anonymous says:

      some food for thought, since we don’t know the Father, and are unaware of the circumstances… but if this Father had 50:50 custody of his child, he wouldn’t be paying any child support… how many mothers would be opting for single-mother hood if the courts made 50:50 the standard?

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  13. Anonymous says:

    I feel bad for these women but for gods sake! Stop having children with worthless men. You know how you can tell they are worthless? If they have other children and are screwing around with you! Use a condom!

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  14. Anonymous says:

    I know Sarah.

    My emotions went from shock and disappointment to empathy and compassion the more I read the facts and circumstances.

    This was a mother desperately trying against all odds to put food in her kids’ stomachs.

    This woman of 17 years service and zero previous convictions definitely did not deserve to be imprisoned.

    Kudos to the judge, and my heart goes out to Ms Connor.
    I wish she and her children the best going forward.

    – Who

    * If anything, this story should serve as a cautionary tale of the pitfalls in modern Cayman existence.

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  15. Anonymous says:

    Pressure needs to be put on the staff that is working at the children maintenance department how many other mothers and fathers are suffering from such a crisis due to the failure of the staff at the maintenance department and the person/persons that work at the social services department that failed the struggling mother such as Ms Connor also Ms. Connor should be given a second chance .at her job with the RCIPS and she should be given all of the support that she needs from her workplace please kindily lead by example serve and protect.

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    • Anonymous says:

      The staff are only implementing policy. What is at fault is your notion of the deserving and undeserving poor and the absolute American belief that if you are in that state its your own fault. Get with the programme Cayman and look how your poor are living. Come out of your ivory towers and stop feeling good about yourselves when you deliver a turkey or ham to a poor household at Christmas. Go for a sea change that incorporates, if you dont want to pay taxes, then at least give up 20% of your earnings to help your fellow citizens in need.

      Stop also subsidizing rich families to sent their children to university. Use the money to help those actually in need.

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      • Anonymous says:

        AMEN is all I have to say!!! ??

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      • Anonymous says:

        such a nonsensical comment. Why don’t you start this trend, by donating 20% of yours. How arrogant can you be to predict what other family’s costs of living are?

        this is how a welfare state starts… removal of any patriarchal structure (thank you feminism), depletion of social values, “independent freedom of choice” based on propaganda, followed by a dependency on the state to support your way of life. Every Western society that has adopted these ludicrous feminist policies are now finding themselves in this situation of becoming welfare states.

        You women need to start owning your decisions, and stop blaming men and government.

        Helping your fellow neighbor is all fine and good, but when you create a society who become dependent on the state or other means of financial survival, it creates a vicious downward spiral…

        vote in policies that bring down costs, and properly motivate and educate your youth…

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        • Speak before you think says:

          I am a woman and I do not place unnecessary blame on men. Your comment of “you women” is highly offensive. There are many men on these Islands who have neglected their spousal and parental duties even though they have been ordered through the courts to take care of their responsibilities. This is a fact.

          This woman broke the law, yes, however I do believe that she is not a hardened criminal and I am happy that the Judge took her specific situation into account when he handed down her sentence. Does this mean theft is ok? No it certainly does not. But in this circumstance a Mother is allowed to remain with her children instead of them having to be placed in the care of Government. There’s are far too many families with absentee mothers and fathers on this Island. Children are growing up stigmatized from not having their parents around in their formative years. This woman is a loving mother who made a mistake. She deserves to be given a chance to redeem herself.

          We can all sit at our computers and judge and write our smart ass remarks, must make us feel so powerfull and almighty.

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      • Anonymous says:

        The deserving poor are those who are trying. They are definitely more worthy of sympathy. Also the unfortunate children.

    • Anonymous says:

      So these Civil Servants are responsible for her having multiple children???? Having a 3rd while struggling with 2 is just STUPID.
      Now if you are saying that the department should make condoms freely available then I am all with you.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Really? I am a single mother, I am always financially challenged. I do no steal. And if you really look at it she stole from me and my kids, because she stole from the public purse.

  16. Anonymous says:

    I am glad that the judge identified that this was not a problem created all by herself…. a number of players should be held accountable too:

    1. the ex-husband
    2. the very court not enforcing those orders
    3. the social service

    In many families (including extended) in Cayman, the burden is left on only one person and even when they try to seek help the fact that they are working, not even how much they are earning, is the overriding factor. The social contract has been in breach for far too long.

    In this case, it is very very unfortunate that it ended like this for her.

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  17. Say t like it is says:

    Often it seems local people get away with it, but in this case, congratulations to the judge for showing mercy, the theft was not greed, the poor woman only wanted to feed her children.

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  18. Anon. says:

    I agree that sometimes justice can be tempered with mercy and from the article it appears that she found herself in quite an unfortunate situation but under no circumstances should one resort to stealing.
    The precedent set is if your story is heartbreaking enough, you can steal and you will be told it is ok, we understand that “you had to do it”.

    She already had two children and no child support and she decided to have a third one?

    What are the laws here about child support dodgers? $52,000?
    In the US, one is restricted in many ways, once you have been pegged as owing child support.

    Cayman need to crack down on all these wayward men. I bet her former husband probably has had other children for which he is also not paying child support.

    I wonder what sentence would her supervisor would have received since she appeared to have been acting as this “angel of mercy”.

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    • Anonymous says:

      This is the most balanced and intelligent comment I have read in a long time.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Wayward men AND women. I’ve been in court fighting my ex for maintenance since she is incapable of looking after our children and sometimes herself. We BOTH wanted kids and now that we have them she just can’t bail on them.

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  19. Anonymous says:

    another glorious day for the civil service….

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  20. SSM345 says:

    Whoever that “Father” is should be flogged in public and have his balls cut off. What a f**king loser of the highest degree.

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    • Anonymous says:

      baby daddy….

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    • Speak before you think says:

      A friend once told me “just because a person has a dick and two balls does not make him a man”.

      Sorry for the language but I wanted to quote word for word. This was a response my friend gave to man who was neglecting his duties to a woman whom he had impregnated.

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  21. Anonymous says:

    Now everyone can take $4000 out of the till without a care in the world. Might as well.

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    • Proud Caymanian says:

      I hope you are never in need or if you have children that you never see them looking up at you in hunger. You heartless person

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      • Anonymous says:

        Really if she was hungry she could have bought a case of rice, and a case of chicken leg quarters from Fosters for a toatal of $30. I have been there,and I never stole. Stop making excuses. Her behavior was disgusting.
        Single honest Mom.

    • Anonymous says:

      true…..

  22. Anonymous says:

    Well done Judge. Mercy reigned that day.

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  23. Anonymous says:

    For Gods sake people… read the story and refrain from bad comments, remember today might not be your day but tomorrow might be..

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    • Anonymous says:

      Thou shalt not steal, but I will, to eat.

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      • Anonymous says:

        said every thief in the world…..everyone has an excuse.

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        • Anonymous says:

          So if you have kids and cannot make ends meet what are you going to do? By your comment I would say give the children up. What would be your excuse?

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          • Savannah resident says:

            How about parents being held accountable for your own actions? This may sound harsh but a person choices to have children it is not the responsibility of the state to raise them.

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            • Anonymous says:

              Ok Savannah resident so by that standard, if a couple both have good jobs, house, etc, and then has kids and 5, 10 – 15 years down the line something bad happens, one parent leaves, dies or has a terrible accident rendering them incapable of working. Medical bills pile up, savings disappear, say family and friends are unwilling or incapable of helping and your children are going to bed hungry. Don’t bother the state for help, it’s not their responsibility to help it’s people who really need help but then don’t steal either because you must be responsible. Guess you’re only choices are to give up the children you love to some family that can feed them.. oh wait then you are requiring someone else to look after your children which is probably wrong too in your view or the second more acceptable to you option… let the children starve. Lord I hope you’re not a parent.

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              • Anonymous says:

                I’m sorry, but lack of proper planning before having a child or children is a problem globally.

                People like sex but don’t remember that’s how a baby is made…..

                You cannot justify taking from someone else to make your own ends meet. It’s basic principality.

                So, if you find yourself in a rough spot, sell your car and catch the bus with your kids, sell your jewelry, go work minuscule jobs on the side, whether it be for your neighbors or an actual business; work for it!

                Fight the temptation to steal.

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              • Anonymous says:

                This would make a lot more sense if the majority of these desperate situations didn’t arise out of a lifetime of poor and or irresponsible choices. People are generally generous, but nobody likes to be abused.

      • Anonymous says:

        For my kids to eat.

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