Little Current resident receives one-year conditional sentence for business theft

GORE BAY—A Little Current resident has been sentenced in Gore Bay court to a conditional sentence (along with a criminal record) of 12 months to be served in the community, with six months to include house arrest as to conditions outlined, six months with a curfew and to provide 100 hours of community service work, all supervised by a conditions supervisor with probation services.

In December, Debra Pauline Bailey pleaded guilty to charges of theft under $5,000 from MSD Computer Corporation. In court this past December, it was disclosed that Ms. Bailey had paid restitution to the owners of MSD Computer Corporation in the amount of $10,000.

In Gore Bay court on Friday of last week, Justice Robert DelFrate noted, “I’m here to deliver reasons on the Debra Pauline Bailey case. The accused has previously pled guilty to theft under $5,000.”

Mr. DelFrate read the facts leading up to the charges and subsequent court case. Ms. Bailey was employed by MSD Computers from March 2002 until February 2008. Her duties included handling daily financial transactions of MSD Computers and 100.7 The Island FM radio.

The owners of the businesses, Craig and Kelly Timmermans, and Ms. Bailey and her family were close friends. “In 2007 the Timmermans became involved in Manitoulin Country Fest,” said Justice DelFrate. “Admission to this annual event was by means of tickets being purchased. It was found that a substantial amount of money was missing, and according to accountant Sam Nardi, who looked into their finances, he found some discrepancies.”

In February 2008, Ms. Bailey resigned from the business and at that time the Timmermans had no reason to have any suspicions on her integrity, said Judge DelFrate. However, “three years later Mr. Timmermans discovered cheques for Hydro One and Bell Telephone paid directly into Ms. Bailey’s account. The total amount of the invoices found amounted to $4,412.69,” he said. Once Hydro was notified they reimbursed the Timmermans for about $3,800, however, there was no reimbursement from Bell Telephone. Prior to the court proceedings last December Ms. Bailey paid $10,000 in restitution to the Timmermans, continued Justice DelFrate. At the same hearing in December, the court heard victim impact statements from Craig and Kelly Timmermans, as well 29 character references for Ms. Bailey.

Mr. DelFrate explained that the Crown had proposed a 12-month conditional sentence, with the defence counsel (Brad Allison) proposing a 12-month conditional discharge. “The defence counsel submits the discharge must be in the best interest of the accused and the community. The defence outlines that Ms. Bailey is 41-years-old and has no prior criminal record,” he said, noting her work in the community, as well as her volunteer activities in the community. A conditional discharge is not as detrimental and her criminal record would be removed in three years.

Mr. DelFrate continued, noting the Crown (Kara Vakiparta) submission points out the need for deterrents to be in place in cases like this. “The Crown submits that there was, over a number of years, a breach of trust she had with the Timmermans with taking these funds. The breach of trust affected the Timmermans both financially and emotionally. As Craig Timmermans had said in his victim impact statement, “while she was toasting the business and the Timmermans with her right hand, she was stealing with the left hand,” said Justice DelFrate. “The Crown feels this was an exceptional circumstance and a criminal condition and incarceration is necessary.”

Mr. DelFrate told the court, “A discharge would be in her (Ms. Bailey’s) best interest, but not for the community. And her breach of trust was not only against an employer but she had been good friends with the Timmermans up until this time.” He said she had shown dishonesty, planning and had shown no degree of remorse for what she had done.

“She did abuse the position of trust financially and emotionally with the Timmermans,” said Judge DelFrate. “I’m convinced the Timmermans would have assisted her when she had financial difficulties and wonder why she decided instead to help herself to the till.”

Judge DelFrate said it was appropriate that Ms. Bailey receive a sentence of 12 months incarceration.

After hearing further deliberations by both Crown and defence counsels on the term and how the sentence would be set out, Judge DelFrate ruled that a 12 month conditional sentence would be imposed on Ms. Bailey, with conditions. “I’m convinced six months house arrest and the latter six months would include a curfew in place, along with (Ms. Bailey) having to perform 100 hours of community service work, under the direction of a conditions supervisor, would address the message that is trying to be directed here.”