Thief who stole €12,000 from employer spared jail after promising to return cash

A man who admitted to having stolen €12,211 from his employer has been spared jail after promising to return the money

A man who admitted to having stolen €12,211 from his employer has been spared jail after promising to return the money.

Klinsmann Grixti, an autoparts shop attendant from Valletta, was arraigned before magistrate Natasha Galea Sciberras on Tuesday, to answer to charges of aggravated theft.

Police inspector Janetta Grixti told the court that a report had been received by the Qormi police station, by a woman who had tried to deposit a certain amount in the bank but was stopped from doing so, as the amount being deposited didn’t match that declared. 

The woman had then checked her office CCTV and found that it showed Grixti, her employee, helping himself to the contents of her handbag and the shop’s cash register

The total amount stolen was €12,211, said the inspector, explaining that the thefts had taken place on more than one occasion.

Defence lawyer Jose Herrera suggested that a suspended sentence would better allow the accused to settle the amount. This was seconded by parte civile lawyer Rene Darmanin who

said his clients had no objection and “weren’t after their pound of flesh.”

Herrera said the accused had no criminal record and had come from a broken family. He had a debt with certain people and made a mistake. The lawyer suggested a probation officer be appointed to follow the accused and assist him in his reintegration into society.

Herrera also told the court that the parties had come to an informal plea deal. The magistrate noted that the charges carried with them a maximum punishment of seven years imprisonment. “The court is not bound by your plea deals…You plead guilty, unconditionally, full stop.”

The lawyer suggested the police revoke one of the charges. Darmanin agreed, suggesting a revocation of the aggravations to the charges. The court once again pointed out that the charges would have to be rescinded by the prosecution, not the parte civile.

But the prosecution agreed to withdraw the charges bar that of aggravated theft. The accused then entered a guilty plea. He bound himself to return the stolen money.

The prosecution, in its submissions on punishment, said that in view of the accused’s declaration that he would return the money he had stolen, as well as his clean criminal record, it was not insisting on imprisonment.

The accused had learned his lesson, insisted Herrera. The court ordered the prosecution and defence counsel to approach the bench, where the case was discussed.

The magistrate noted that some of the charges had been dropped and that the accused had pleaded guilty at the first opportunity. On the other hand, the court took into account the serious nature of the crime as well as the amount of money stolen. For this reason, the court, finding him guilty, sentenced Grixti to two years in jail, suspended for four years and ordered him to refund the money within six months. He was also placed under a probation order.