Trinidad and Tobago
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Tobago teacher must pay $33,000 to community council

Corey Connelly  Tomley Roberts. File photo/David Reid
Tomley Roberts. File photo/David Reid

A TOBAGO schoolteacher who was charged with two counts of larceny totalling $33,000 on March 4, 2013, has lost his appeal in court.

Tomley Roberts, 48, a teacher at Speyside High School, now has three months to pay a fine on two counts of fraudulent conversion, and three months to compensate the Carnbee/Mt Pleasant Community Council. The group is responsible for the annual goat and crab races.

The court heard that on January 4, 2013, Roberts had with him the council’s chequebook when he went to First Citizens’ Canaan and Scarborough branches.

There, he wrote and deposited cheques for $10,000 and $23,000 respectively and withdrew the money without the council’s permission.

In evidence, Roberts said he used part of the money to advertise the council’s sports day in the Caribbean Beat magazine.

On August 10, 2016, then Scarborough magistrate Cherril-Anne Antoine, after hearing the evidence, did not agree to the offence of larceny but convicted Roberts on two counts of fraudulent conversion.

She fined him $2,000 or four months' imprisonment with hard labour and gave him three months to pay the fine. She also ordered him to repay the $33,000 to the council or serve six weeks' simple imprisonment. He was given two months to repay the council.

Roberts appealed the conviction and the Court of Appeal determined his appeal on Monday. Roberts was represented by attorney Martin George and the State by special prosecutor Wayne Rajbansie. The complainant was Insp Piggott, who was a corporal at the time of the incident.

Appeal Court Judges Mark Mohammed and Maria Wilson dismissed Roberts’s appeal and upheld Magistrate Antoine’s decision.

As a result, the conviction against Roberts stands. He now has three months to pay the fine and three months to compensate the council.