Fraudster clerk’s appeal dismissed

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Pietrmaritzburg - An attorney's clerk, who admitted to stealing about R1.2 million from her employers, failed to have her sentence reduced by the High Court in Pietermaritzburg on Thursday.

Candida du Plessis was initially refused leave to appeal against the seven-year jail sentence imposed by regional court magistrate Jennifer Anthoo.

However, she successfully petitioned the judge president to allow her to appeal.

Acting Judge Thabo Poyo Dlwati, who heard the appeal with Judge Johann Ploos van Amstel, on Thursday said Anthoo had correctly taken into account the seriousness and prevalence of the offences.

The court had to send out a message to deter would-be offenders, he said.

The sentence imposed by the trial court was not inappropriate, unreasonable or disproportionate to Du Plessis's circumstances, her needs, the crime, and the interests of society.

During her regional court trial in March 2012, Du Plessis said her employers authorised creditors for conveyancing costs without checking the validity of requests for payments.

She realised that the system was open to abuse and misappropriation. In July 2008, she succumbed to temptation and stole money to pay a loan shark.

Du Plessis continued misappropriating money from the company's business and trust account until July 2011 when she was told the director had suspicions about her conduct.

She admitted guilt and co-operated with the police's investigation.


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