Trio pleads guilty to $50,000 theft

NNSL (DEC 20/96) - Two women and a man pleaded guilty Tuesday to stealing nearly $50,000 from a convenience store.

The theft occurred between March 1, 1995, and May 30, 1996, while Debbie and Violet Chile worked at the downtown Yellowknife location.

William MacLeod, who was also involved in the theft, does not work at the store.

Usually a judge would sentence the trio within days or weeks of their guilty plea, but territorial court Judge Michel Bourassa has agreed to an unusual deal that puts off sentencing until next May.

Deal architect and defence lawyer Tom Boyd said the two women still work at the store and are attempting to pay back all of the money prior to sentencing.

Crown lawyer Sandra Aitken wasn't opposed to the request. "It is an unusual situation," she said.

Court heard that a "substantial amount" of the money had already been paid back to the store and the rest might be recovered in six months time.

Bourassa said higher courts have ruled time and time again that sentencing hearings are not supposed to be used "as a hammer over someone's head to get them to do something."

But because the deal is in the interest of justice -- by paying back the victim -- Bourassa said he would go along with Boyd's suggestion.

All three are scheduled to appear in court May 12 to be sentenced on the indictable offence of theft over $5,000.