269 Generations actress Maggie Benedict leaves the Randburg Magistrates court after her case for shoplifiting is set for January next year. 191213. Picture: Bongiwe Mchunu

“I, unequivocally, did not steal headache tablets from Checkers.”

These are the words of Generations’ Maggie Benedict, denying the allegation that she stole Panado tablets from the Cresta Mall Checkers.

Benedict, who plays the role of Akhona Griffith in the SABC1 soapie, posted a statement on her Facebook page explaining what happened in December.

“I am innocent of this alleged crime and there was no basis for the arrest,” she says. “Every item in my possession was paid for, including the tablets I’d purchased weeks earlier that were still unopened… I could not provide a receipt because I’m blessed to have R17.49c not be an expenditure I need to keep track of.”

Benedict said she had chosen to refrain from telling her side of the story to avoid interfering with court proceedings.

She said she now wanted to set the record straight.

“Checkers could not provide proof as the camera covering the relevant aisle didn’t work.

“It still wasn’t working when we gathered to view footage on February 13,” added the 30-year-old.

The actress said that even though she knew the matter could be resolved quickly if she admitted that she did the crime, she couldn’t lie in court.

“As the matter currently stands, the State has offered diversion. That means in principle that you admit to the allegations against you, look appropriately remorseful and the whole thing goes away. This would be the easiest and most cost-effective manner in which to get this matter to finality… I’m not sleeping as it is, I don’t see lying to an officer of the law remedying that,” she says.

Benedict said Checkers could choose to intervene and elect not to proceed with prosecution, but had failed to do so.

“Neither has happened. All calls by my attorney to Checkers have to date been met with a noncommittal ‘We’re still trying to find someone to appoint to the matter’ to respond. I guess it is far easier to make an example of that actress than it is to admit that perhaps, just perhaps, Checkers’s anti-theft machines and cameras might need a service.”

Benedict’s statement was met with encouragement on both Twitter and Facebook.

Gray Mkhonto (@TheeColourGray) tweeted: “Seriously Checkers… are u trying to advertise via Maggie/ Generations’ Akhona… Who would steal headache tablets?”

On Facebook, Jaco van Rensburg commented: “I am outraged. And all this about R17.49? Surely our government have more pressing issues to busy themselves with?”

Benedict sent out a plea to all women who carry handbags that contain any unopened items.

“Open everything in it RIGHT NOW! Don’t wait until you need that item to lift the tab, tear the perforated seal or pop the blister pack. That unopened snack bar you keep for emergencies might cost you far more than the price on the shelf,” she said.

Benedict is expected to return to the Randburg Magistrate’s Court on Thursday. - The Star


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