A WOMAN will receive more than $10,000 for her legal costs after successfully beating charges she stole jewellery from a Warrnambool business.
Selena Gore, 30, previously of Ryot Street, Warrnambool, had fought a charge of theft and dealing with the proceeds of crime during two days of hearings in Warrnambool Magistrates Court this week.
Yesterday magistrate Peter Mellas dismissed the charges and ordered the Chief Commissioner pay Ms Gore’s legal costs of $10,197.
The hearing had been told Ms Gore was employed at Micheli Jewellers from October 2010 to early 2011.
The theft charge related to a pair of earrings described as 14 or 18-carat white gold diamond drop earrings, which retailed for about $3700.
The dealing with the proceeds of crime charge related to a pair of white gold diamond drop pearl earrings, which retailed for $1600.
Mr Mellas said Ms Gore had “clearly calculated or clearly put” that she hadn’t had an opportunity to access the items, however there was evidence presented that this was not the case
On Thursday the court heard Ms Gore purchased the diamond drop earrings while on holiday in Istanbul in 2009 and became part of her personal collection.
She said the pearl earrings were submitted to a Rotary auction in March or April 2012 and she had donated to the cause in the two previous years.
She said she bought the loose pearls from a company in Melbourne and a copy of the purchase and credit card statements were also tendered to the court.
Yesterday, a master jeweller called by the defence said the items were fairly common and not as unique as someone might think.
Police prosecutor Senior Constable Paul Harris said Ms Gore’s explanation that the earrings had been purchased in Istanbul was fanciful and extremely coincidental for the same item of jewellery to turn up in a Warrnambool store.
Mr Mellas said he took into account evidence given by Ms Gore’s mother that she had seen the earrings prior to Ms Gore beginning work at Micheli Jewellers, when she had cleaned her daughter’s room.
Mr Mellas said the store had a security system in place but like any system it was subject to human error.
He said keys at the store had been available to all staff and there had been the opportunity for all staff to get their hands on products. He said he accepted former Micheli Jewellers owner Elvi Harris was an honest witness who was hampered by not being able to access records which she might have otherwise done so, had the store not closed in 2012.
On the theft charge Mr Mellas said he couldn’t be satisfied beyond reasonable doubt that the diamond drop earrings were from Micheli Jewellers and he dismissed the charge.
Referring to the pearl earrings, Mr Mellas said he was satisfied the earrings were not the proceeds of crime and the charge was dismissed.