Court notes low risk to re-offend
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.