A former liquor shop employee who stole $1800 from the cash register at her job was ordered to repay the money as part of her punishment when she appeared in Orange Local Court.
Zeana Joyce Johnson, 49, of Brooklands Drive, was addicted to methamphetamine and said she stole the cash to pay for her ice addiction at the time of the offences.
However, the court was told that Johnson sought help for her addiction after being charged with stealing from her employer and has now been abstinent for at least the past 16 months.
Johnson was employed by the business in Orange from 2020 to early 2021 and according to information presented to the court she was fired after management became aware of the thefts, although in a letter she submitted she said she resigned.
Magistrate Susan McGowan said the maximum penalty for the offence was 10 years in jail, if it went before the District Court.
However, although this was not considered one of the serious examples of the offence she said general deterrence was needed to be considered during sentencing.
"General deterrence goes to the top of the pile," she said.
"There's going to be a conviction. You cannot steal from your employer when you've got an ice habit and think that everything is going to go away."
According to information presented to the court, Johnson, between December 16, 2020 and February 5, 2021, would scan all items but if a customer paid in cash she'd cancel the transaction and put the money in the till.
Later in the shift she'd take money out but because she didn't keep track of the transactions she cancelled the balance of her register was always out.
She later told police she never took out less than $100 despite the cancelled transactions ranging from $298.37 to $4.50 on different days over a 13-day period.
Solicitor Neil Jones asked for a "lengthy bond without a conviction" when Johnson appeared in court.
Mr Jones handed up several background reports and references and said at the time of offending, Johnson was self-medicating for trauma and mental health issues she'd experienced at various times in her life.
"Her use of drugs started while she was running her own business here in town," Mr Jones said.
"She is aware that her former manager is deeply disappointed by her [actions].
"This was not premeditated, it was a very opportunistic crime. There are on her record two drug possession charges from the same time."
However, he said Johnson has turned a corner and along with stopping her drug use, she now has a stable home life with a partner who is opposed to drugs, and she has a new job that she values.
Ms McGowan convicted Johnson and gave her a 12-month Conditional Release Order with the condition she not reoffend for the next 12 months. Johnson will also have to reapay $1801.61 that she stole from the business.
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