A woman who stole almost $68,000 from her employer has been jailed for more than two years.
Jenna Maree Savage, 30, blew kisses to friends and whanau in court as she was led away after being sentenced to two years, three months' jail by Judge Thomas Ingram in the Tauranga District Court yesterday.
Savage was found guilty of 10 counts of theft by a person in a special relationship by Judge Robert Wolff in November following a judge-alone trial. She had been office manager at Whangamata Club.
Using two-and-a-half years' prison as an "appropriate" starting point, Judge Ingram gave Savage three months discount for prior good character but he said there were no grounds for further reductions.
"I do not consider home detention would be appropriate in regard to the quantity, the nature and the institution from which the money was taken," he said.
Judge Ingram declined to order reparation saying "the stark reality" was that Savage would not be able to pay the money back in the next five years.
The Crown argued a jail sentence of two-and-a-half to three years before a discount for the fact Savage was a first time offender was appropriate.
Savage's lawyer Rebekah Webby urged the judge to impose home detention. Ms Webby said the large number of friends and whanau at the sentencing to support her client would provide guidance and assistance if Savage had home detention.
Judge Ingram said he had to take into account the effects on her victims and the wider community.
"It's a significant matter that this case involves a club in a small community, such a club is a considerable focal point for local people.
"In this case it is a person stealing from a social club whose members are not particularly well off, and the affairs of the club are a matter of considerable interest to all members, and indeed to member's families," he said.
Judge Ingram said the theft involved a large sum of money, and the repeated and deliberate action on Savage's part was a "substantial abuse of trust". But he acknowledged "life has not been easy" for Savage in many ways over a period of time.