Author: Nyman Gibson Miralis

By Nyman Gibson Miralis

The Facts: Client was working when items of stock went missing. There were other employees present at the work premises. Nobody was seen to steal the items, however the client had his car parked within the work premises and his car was not there after the goods were noticed to be missing.  The employer reported this to the police.  Police concluded that it must have been the accused – simply because his car was no longer at the work premises. They charged our client.   After taking instructions from him, we set the matter down for a defended hearing of the police charges of Larceny as a Clerk

The Result: As you would expect, our client was found not guilty after defended hearing. The client had a perfectly good reason for his car being moved – he arranged for his wife to collect it so that she could use the car. The client should never have been charged. The prosecution must prove their case beyond reasonable doubt. There was no surveillance or independent witnesses to back up suspicion of management that the client ‘must’ have taken the goods – simply because they could not find any other explanation.  It is quite often the case that insufficient workplace safeguards and systems lead to property going missing.  Most workplaces conduct a stocktake to reconcile property still held against stock sheets which reflect stock in and stock out with the anticipated stock at hand.

An application was made pursuant to section 213 and 214 Criminal Procedure Act for the police to pay our client’s legal costs. Specifically, if it can be shown that the proceedings were initiated without reasonable cause, the Magistrate has a discretion to award costs.  The magistrate promptly awarded costs against the police.