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Judge junks employer’s ‘made up’ theft tale against Filipina maid

01 March 2018

Tuen Mun magistrate says employer made up the theft charge

By Vir B. Lumicao

A Filipina domestic worker walked free from court on Feb. 28 after a Tuen Mun magistrate rejected as “doubtful and inadmissible” her Pakistani employer’s accusation that she stole $2,000 worth of jewelry and various currencies in his home.

Cheryl Canonoy broke into tears and embraced her supporters in the gallery after Magistrate Kelly Shui pronounced her verdict acquitting the maid.

An officer of the Consulate’s assistance to nationals section told The SUN that ATN would now help the helper file labor claims against her former employer and complain to the Immigration Department about her being made to work in two houses.

Canonoy pleaded not guilty to a charge of theft at the start of the trial on Feb 23. She was initially accused by Shahab of stealing 28 Malaysian dollars, 1,000 baht, 300 Pakistani rupees, 7 renminbi and a gold necklace worth $2,500 between Dec 1 and Dec 18.

Then the prosecution said the former employer, a court interpreter, amended his statement before the trial began to include a pair of earrings and a gold bangle, part of a jewelry he supposedly bought for his wife.

He also increased the amount of allegedly stolen baht to 1,800 and lowered the value of the necklace to $2,000. In his witness evidence, Shahab added that another bangle owned by his wife was found in Canonoy’s belongings two days after she was arrested.

Shahab also said when the police were investigating in his home, the defendant admitted the offense by saying “sorry” to the police.

But Shui noted that the officer, the second prosecution witness, said he heard the maid say “sorry” but did not see who it was she had said it, or whether it was an admission.

The magistrate, in her verdict, said the fact that Canonoy made no admission of the alleged offense made the court think “the prosecution witness may have made up all the evidence against the defendant”.

“Given such, this court concludes that his evidence is inadmissible. When there is doubt, the court is on the side of the defendant,” Shui said.

Earlier in the trial, defense counsel Robert Connelly complained to the magistrate that he had seen the employer talking to the prosecution lawyer and the police witness outside the courtroom while waiting to testify.

He also said there was no case to answer because the employer’s testimony was only based on his wife’s allegation that she found the stolen items in the defendant’s belongings, and the wife was not called to give evidence.

That prompted the magistrate to adjourn her verdict until Feb 28 for some time to consider her ruling.     


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