Hotel worker changes her plea again and receives four-month sentence for theft
The Sandy Bay woman charged with stealing from a foreign coordinator of the President of India’s visit, is said to have received a four month prison sentence this morning, suspended for one year.
Maruth Francois, who was sentenced at the Mesopotamia Magistrate’s Court, will therefore be expected to keep on the straight and narrow for the next year.
If she is convicted for another offence within the next year she will be required to serve the four month prison that she received today, on top of the sentence received for the new offence. Otherwise, she will not serve the prison term.
Francois first appeared at the Serious Offences Court(SOC) on Monday, May 23. She admitted guilt to, between May 14 and 19, at Villa, stealing US$1140 in cash, the property of Anju Sharma of Suriname.
Although she changed her plea the following day to one of ‘not guilty’, prompting the matter to be transferred to the Mesopotamia Magistrate’s Court, the defendant once more changed her plea this morning, back to guilty.
According to the facts read at the SOC on Monday, Sharma works in the office of the Ambassador of India and was responsible for coordinating the visit of the President of India to Vincentian shores.
Upon her arrival on May 4, Sharma proceeded to book rooms at the Beachcombers Hotel for her as well as book for the entire contingent.
Francois was assigned as the cleaner of Sharma’s room.
On Saturday, May 14, Sharma was on the phone with her mother who warned her to secure her money as she was in a foreign country. She proceeded to check her money, that amounted to US $1160, as placed it in paper, in her laptop bag, and in the clothes cupboard.
The following Thursday, Sharma went to her laptop bag to retrieve some money to buy items as she and the First Lady of India were going out. However, she only found US$20.
On discovering this she sat for 20 minutes, not believing that the money was missing. She then informed hotel management who reported the matter to the police.