THEFT: SHOPLIFTING

The case of Mary Poppins

Mary was a typical busy housewife looking after a young child aged 2 while hubby worked hard to pay all the household bills. One afternoon, Mary went to the local Metro store with her child in a stroller. Mary decided to use part of the stroller to carry the items of shopping she selected. Unbeknown to her, some bars of soap she selected fell to the bottom of the stroller. She was also not aware that Piggy, a store detective was watching her closely.

She paid for all the items in her stroller at the cash till but did not pay for the bars of soap as she forgot about it as it was out of her sight through having slipped to the bottom of the stroller. Piggy saw that she did not pay for the bars of soap and followed her out of the store pointing out to her the bars of soap at the bottom of the stroller. Mary told Piggy she forgot about paying for the soap as she did not see the bars. Piggy called the police and she was arrested. The police did not accept her explanation and she was charged.

Prior to the trial we took pictures of the stroller and brought the stroller to court to use as an exhibit and demonstrative evidence. Piggy, when he gave his evidence in chief, confirmed that the bars of soap lay at the bottom of the stroller. As experienced trial lawyers, we could not see any point cross-examining for by doing so we would give Piggy the opportunity strengthening the crown's case by making up evidence that Mary was acting suspiciously and perhaps deliberately pushing the bars of soap to the bottom of the stroller.

This was a plain case of creating reasonable doubt through Mary's evidence, and how she could easily have forgotten to pay for the bars of soap as she forgot about them as they were not visible. The use of the pictures and a demonstration of how the bars of soap could easily slip to the bottom of the stroller accidently was sufficient. The trial judge after hearing Mary's evidence and seeing a demonstration of the bar of soap slipping to the bottom of the stroller and being out of sight compelled the judge to find reasonable doubt and Mary was acquitted.

Raj Napal, in the criminal defence work he does, will investigate the case thoroughly to piece together all the defence evidence needed to achieve a result. Careful planning and sound trial tactics are the tools he uses to achieve the best possible results for his clients.