Police clerk fined $8,100 for ticket offences
A police clerk has been fined more than $8,000 for showing no respect for the law and cancelling 79 parking tickets.The Royal Gazette understands that Wilson has not been fired from her job, as her employment as a civilian member of police support staff is governed by the Bermuda Public Services Union collective agreement. That means the head of the Civil Service must now be consulted about her future employment status.
Mom-of-two Jahmeeka Wilson did “the exact opposite” of what was expected of her in her job with the Bermuda Police Service.
Magistrates’ Court heard yesterday how she had “breached the trust of a whole lot of people” by pulling nine tickets for her sister and 70 more for other people.
Acting Magistrate Graveney Bannister said he was “appalled” that she had abused her primary responsibility of inputting parking tickets into the computer system.
He fined Wilson to a total of $8,100 for perverting the course of justice and said she would end up behind bars if she did not pay up.
Wilson, 27, of Mount Hill, Pembroke, was sentenced yesterday after the court heard the details of e-mails and text messages illustrating how she pulled parking tickets in exchange for cash.
Wilson, who started working as a data input clerk in September 2009, has been suspended from her job on full pay and a disciplinary investigation is to be carried out.
However, defence lawyer Marc Daniels said she made “no money whatsoever” from pulling the parking tickets and said it was “part of the culture” as police officers “have certain discretions” when dealing with parking tickets.
But Mr Bannister said it was “a very serious offence” and Wilson had not pleaded guilty until her trial had begun, which was five months after the case was first heard in court.
She was initially arrested and bailed by detectives investigating the crime, and they later caught her at the airport trying to leave the Island.
Mr Bannister said: “You took responsibility for your offences, but you did so begrudgingly.
“This is scandalous, I’m appalled. As a public servant, you abused your position.”
Wilson admitted conspiracy to defraud the Government of Bermuda by preventing the collection of revenue, and to official corruption by entering false information into the criminal justice information system about parking tickets.
She was ordered to pay $1,350 yesterday and a further $6,750 before the end of November. If she fails to pay, she faces up to two years in prison.
The court heard how Wilson spent most of her time working at Magistrates’ Court “at her own request.”
Police obtained records for Wilson’s cell phone and e-mail account, plus records of all the parking tickets she had withdrawn from the court records system, which totaled 79.
Nine tickets were for a green Peugeot car registered to Wilson’s sister Akilah Wilson who works at the Bermuda Monetary Authority.
A warrant for the arrest of Wilson’s sister for having illegal tint on her car windows was also shown as cancelled in the court system.
Another cancelled warrant related to the defendant’s boyfriend and father of her two children, aged nine and three, Derrick Hill, 29 for a traffic incident.
The court heard a text message conversation between Hill and Wilson in June 2010. Hill wrote: “Dutty needs a speeding ticket pulled.” Wilson replied: “OK.” Hill then texted: “He got cash.” To which Wilson responded: “OK, get it from him.” Hill later texted her saying: “Got more tickets. Can you do those too?” Wilson texted: “Ya, I can, but they got to pay me.”
Hill was charged with defrauding the Government by preventing the collection of revenue, to which he pleaded guilty before his girlfriend’s trial began.
Hill was yesterday fined $1,350 after Mr Bannister accepted he had “minimal involvement.” Hill told the court: “I have to say sorry for my actions to the court and Bermuda public and it’ll never happen again.”
Prosecutor Cindy Clarke said Wilson was “solely to blame” and suggested “an immediate incarceration” of at least a year.
She said: “The fundamental purpose of her job was to respect the law, but this offence does the exact opposite.”
Mr Daniels said Wilson understood she had breached her position when working for “two highly respected institutions”; the BPS and Bermuda Government.
But he urged the court to “understand the context of her actions,” which he put down to “bad choices and immaturity.”
Mr Daniels said: “She’s truly remorseful and embarrassed … The impact has been so severe that she has been stressing every day. She has been plagued with trying to hold her head up as she walks down the street.”
Mr Daniels said Wilson could find it difficult to find future employment and was worried about who would look after her children if sent to prison.
He said: “This country should have the spirit of not trying to lock up the first time offender.
“You shouldn’t even consider putting her in jail. She doesn’t deserve to hear the bars closing in front of her.
“Her physical presence behind bars and breaking up a family is unwarranted.”
Wilson, who has no previous convictions, said she wanted to say sorry to the police, the court, her family and her two children.
She struggled to hold back the tears as she said: “I would like to apologise for my actions. I’m sorry, I’m embarrassed.”
Then as Mr Daniels whispered in her ear, she went on to say: “I’m asking for leniency and I’m also asking for another chance to do what’s right and be a good person in society and to be more than this.”
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