Lillooet woman acquitted of theft

Crown failed to prove motive and sole access to cash box

A B.C. Supreme Court judge has ruled the Crown failed to prove a Lillooet woman was behind a series of thefts from her former employer that totalled nearly $15,000.
Joanna John was acquitted in Kamloops Law Courts on Thursday following a four-day trial. She had been charged with theft over $5,000.
John is a former employee of the Lillooet Friendship Centre. She worked as a front-desk employee for the non-profit agency in 2015 and 2016 and one of her duties included accepting cash and depositing it into the organization’s bank account.
During her employment, court heard, $14,622.89 went missing. Following an RCMP investigation, John was arrested and charged.
At trial, defence lawyer Natalie Hebert argued police had tunnel vision while probing the thefts.
“The RCMP did not look any further than the end of the finger they were pointing at Joanna John,” she said, suggesting other employees or former staff members could have been responsible for the theft.
Justice Len Marchand ruled the Crown failed to establish any motive for John and showed no evidence of any increased spending by her in the six-month period during which the thefts were alleged to have taken place.
Marchand also said the Crown failed to prove nobody else had access to a key to a cash lock box in which John kept cash received by the Lillooet Friendship Centre.
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