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Discharge for Christmas tree thief

A MarketPlace employee who sold Christmas trees at a discounted rate because he felt sorry for people who could not afford them has been given an absolute discharge.

Esra Barnett, 29, had previously admitted the theft of 23 trees from Shelly Bay MarketPlace in December last year and was sentenced at Magistrates’ Court Friday morning.

His lawyer, Craig Attridge, told the court that the offence was “totally out of character” for Barnett who had no previous convictions.

Mr Attridge added that Barnett had also paid back the $805 value of the trees to MarketPlace.

At a previous hearing the court heard that Barnett of Devonshire was employed at the store and was responsible for distributing the trees to customers who handed over their receipts as proof of purchase. A staff member noticed that trees worth $89 had been given to people with receipts for $50 trees and that five trees were unaccounted for.

Last week Barnett told the court that MarketPlace had called him to help out at the store and added: “I am deeply remorseful to MarketPlace for my actions.”

Magistrate Khamisi Tokunbo added: “It appears that they got more help than they bargained for. The next time you feel sorry for someone help them with your own property and not someone else’s.”

• It is The Royal Gazette’s policy not to allow comments on stories regarding criminal court cases.