A FORMER Suva Magistrates Court sheriff was yesterday handed a suspended sentence after he was found guilty of theft.
Magistrate Yohan Liyanage said 24-year-old Vatiliai Turuva did not show any respect for the law and breached the trust of the court during his term as a court sheriff. Mr Liyanage set Turuva's sentence at 16 months but reduced it 11 months because he was married with a child.
The court further lowered his sentence to a month because he did not have any previous convictions. Turuva had been authorised by a senior court officer to cash a cheque of $1826 for payment to a complainant in the Small Claims Tribunal. He denied he had cashed the cheque and told the complainant he was not aware of the case.
The court heard the man lost the money while he was heavily drunk in a Suva nightclub.
Mr Liyanage said he was disappointed that it took the police two years to complete their investigation. He said the offence was similar to larceny with a maximum term of 10 years imprisonment.
The court heard Turuva was remorseful and was willing to pay back the money. However, it made its decision for a one month imprisonment suspended for three months.