A Filipina domestic worker plans to appeal her conviction for stealing after the magistrate sentenced her to three months in jail at Eastern Magistrates’ Court.
Gladys Manuel was found guilty on April 18 of stealing jewelry from her employer’s mother-in-law last year, sunwebhk.com reported.
The court heard that the owner of the jewelry, Lee Man-ying, gave Manuel her spare keys so she could enter her apartment to take care of her grandchild in late November last year. Lee then left for the United States on vacation.
Lee said she took off rings and a pair of earrings after returning home from a party and kept them in a small plastic box in her bedroom. The defendant, a single mother of two, then went to the Philippines for her Christmas vacation.
Lee did not notice the missing jewelry until the Christmas holidays, so she and her son searched the defendant’s room and found pawnshop receipts.
Manuel returned to Hong Kong on January 2 and the next day Lee asked her to go to the pawnshop with her. Lee said she paid HK$1,700 (US$216) to redeem the pawned items, which she recognized as her own. She called the police. Officers also found the earrings in the defendant’s bag.
Lee told the court she lost a 1.06-carat yellow diamond ring, a platinum ring, a small diamond, a pair of earrings with 0.6-carat and 0.7-carat diamonds and a pair of purple crystal earrings. The owner valued the gold ring at HK$3,000 and the platinum ring at HK$6,000.
The magistrate said Lee’s testimony was honest and reliable. Meanwhile, he did not believe the defendant’s claim that the two rings and the earrings were hers.
The defense lawyer asked for a lenient sentence, saying the defendant had repaid the money. However, the magistrate said the case was a breach of trust that called for an immediate custodial sentence. The defense lawyer said the defendant will appeal the conviction.