(CMR) Brianna Casey Kirchman was sentenced last week to four months' imprisonment – suspended for two years after pleading guilty to stealing CI$9,000 from her employer to obtain some herbal treatments for her child. The magistrate found that her child's illness was an exceptional circumstance that mitigated immediate imprisonment.
Kirchman admitted to the charges of taking money from Ocean Frontiers Ltd. dive shop by falsifying 15 customer refund transactions over a two week period in August 2017. She has to also serve 80 community service hours and fully compensate the employer for the stolen funds.
Kirchman worked at the dive shop as an Office Administrator from August 2016. Magistrate Valdis Foldats was told that she stole the money in order to pay for a herbal remedy for her daughter's condition. The magistrate referred to this person as a “charlatan” who was pressuring her to get what she believed would be a successful remedy for the child's illness – a clear implication that the herbal treatment was not medically viable.
Crown Counsel Garcia Kelly stated that the theft was a breach of trust. However the magistrate noted the simplicity of the thefts meant they were bound to be discovered and they were to be considered relatively low level.
The court noted that she had already paid back $4,000 and would have to pay the remaining balance. The magistrate made mention of the fact that she was the sole caregiver for her child and his decision to suspend the prison sentence was based on what was in the best interest of the child and not the defendant. He noted that she had suffered reputational damage and would now be known as a convicted thief – “a natural consequence of her crime”.
She was ordered to fulfill the compensation order withing 12 months or serve three months' in jail.