Court notes low risk to re-of­fend

The Compass - - Editorial -

A de­ci­sion was made in the mat­ter of Mar­garet Hat­field in Har­bour Grace on Fri­day, May 26.

Hat­field ap­peared in pro­vin­cial court Fri­day morn­ing for her pre-sen­tenc­ing re­port.

Hat­field faced 20 charges of fraud and four charges for forgery after a po­lice in­ves­ti­ga­tion into com­plaints made by Pla­cen­tia Mayor Wayne D. Power in late 2015.

Dur­ing the state­ment of facts, the crown noted that $12,000 of fraud­u­lent in­voices were de­posited into Hat­field’s bank ac­count. Four­teen cheques of var­i­ous amounts were also de­posited into Hat­field’s ac­count, to­tal­ing $19,906.32.

The to­tal loss in the town of Pla­cen­tia was $32,794.46.

Dur­ing her ap­pear­ance Fri­day morn­ing, facts stated by the crown de­tailed Hat­field’s ad­dic­tion to oxy­con­tin, which she would pur­chase off the street and pay for us­ing the town’s fi­nances. The crown pros­e­cu­tor for the case sug­gested a 12-month prison sen­tence, fol­lowed by 18 months of su­per­vised pro­ba­tion.

Hat­field, 59, was em­ployed by the town of Pla­cen­tia for about 30 years, and worked as a tourism and her­itage di­rec­tor for the town. She pleaded guilty in Oc­to­ber of 2016.

Dur­ing Fri­day morn­ing’s pre-sen­tenc­ing re­port, Hat­field’s de­fence coun­sel stated she was listed as be­ing a “very low risk” to re-of­fend, some­thing coun­sel says they have never seen, stat­ing that “low risk” was the most they’ve seen in 30 years.

Judge Bruce Short ul­ti­mately made the de­ci­sion to sen­tence Hat­field to a 12month con­di­tional sen­tence, where she will be al­lowed an hour a week for ex­er­cise at 1 p.m., and three hours fol­low­ing that to do bank­ing, shop­ping, and any­thing else she may need. All of this will be heav­ily su­per­vised.

Dur­ing his de­ci­sion, Short noted that drug ad­dic­tion is some­thing the court sees all too of­ten, but he was happy to see Hat­field was mak­ing “very pos­i­tive steps” to­ward re­cov­ery after Hat­field stated that she had been sober for around two years.

Hat­field is also re­quired to stay away from the Pla­cen­tia coun­cil of­fice at all times.

FILE PHOTO

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