A Filipina maid newly employed by a judge has been accused of stealing money from a co-worker at the judge’s villa on The Peak overlooking Hong Kong harbor.
Defendant Canacio Marites Patino, 38, was formerly an employee of Justice Jonathan Harris. She originally faced two counts of theft from the judge’s villa on Mount Kellett Road between January 9 and 12 but the prosecutor dropped a charge of stealing the judge’s wallet in February, Oriental Daily reported.
The Eastern Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday heard that the judge employed two domestic workers, a Filipina named Rosiene Cagalitan Cuento, and an Indonesian known just as Jemini.
Jemini had resigned to go back to Indonesia so the judge hired Patino and she reported for duty in the middle of December last year before Jemini left Hong Kong.
The judge arranged for the three maids to co-work for a short period and they shared the same room.
A few days later, Cuento and Jemini reported to the judge that they lost HK$500 (US$63) and HK$200 in cash. The judge asked them to be careful with their money.
Cuento said that on January 8 an envelope with HK$3,700 cash in it which she had put in her bag disappeared. She told her female employer about the incident.
Then, the judge found he had lost his wallet, containing HK$700 in cash and credit cards.
On January 13, the judge terminated the contract with Patino and listed the missing items on the letter ending her employment. But Patino denied stealing any money. She received her salary, plus a transport fee and moved out of the villa.
After Patino left, Cuento tidied up the defendant’s bed and allegedly found the envelope she originally put in her bag – in Patino’s pillowcase, but with HK$593 missing.
Defense lawyer Shah Mohammed Jawadullah questioned Cuento, alleging that she had framed the defendant. If the judge had fired Patino, then her friend Jemini would have been able to take up the job and work with her again when she returned to Hong Kong, Sing Tao Daily reported, but Cuento denied that.
The trial is due to continue on May 23.