A man dubbed “habitually dishonest” by a judge stole cash from employers stretching from Whangārei to Queenstown - but they won’t be getting a cent back.
David Wotherspoon has more than 60 convictions primarily for dishonesty offences, Judge Stephen Clark noted when jailing him in the Hamilton District Court this week.
His actions were blatant.
He was the manager of a cafe in Whangārei on October 20 last year, and at the end of the shift went to the safe and left with a cash bag with $2335 inside.
Fast forward to August 14 this year, and Wotherspoon was in Nelson “minding a lodge” and on bail for the previous charge.
After the lodge manager left, he opened a cash register and stole $450.
He then left Nelson and went to Queenstown where he worked as front-of-house at the Ballarat Trade and Co.
On August 23, when he was no longer employed with the business, he walked into the bar at 8.34am and grabbed the office keys before making off with $1500, which included $500 worth of tips.
Counsel Rob Weir said his client’s offending was to fund his drug habit.
He agreed Wotherspoon’s history was “extensive”, however, he had suffered from drug addiction for a “very long time”.
“It’s very apparent from the [pre-sentence] report that Mr Wotherspoon has suffered from drug addiction and ... stolen from employers to feed that habit.”
He added Wotherspoon potentially had work “in the region” once he was released from prison.
“The reality is he has been stealing from employers and he needs to get out again and prove himself.”
He already had $9224 in reparation and fines outstanding so there was no chance of paying any of the stolen money back, Weir said; however, his client was remorseful for what he’d done.
Judge Stephen Clark couldn’t help but notice his record.
“It needs to be noted that you are habitually dishonest, Mr Witherspoon,” the judge told him.
“It may or may not be driven by drug addiction but I note you have 10 burglary convictions, nine or 10 theft convictions and nine or 10 other dishonesty convictions.
“You have 63 convictions and primarily for dishonesty convictions. You are assessed as being at a high risk of reoffending.”
Wotherspoon had said in a report the offending was due to a lapse after having been clean for some time, which Judge Clark agreed was “probably true” as he noted a five-year gap in offending.
He didn’t have an available address for home detention so jail was the only option. However, the judge declined to issue any discount for remorse or make an order for reparation, given Wotherspoon’s fines history.
“It would be somewhat pointless,” the judge said.
Wotherspoon, who has been in custody since August, was jailed for 12 months on two charges of theft and one of burglary.
Belinda Feek is an Open Justice reporter based in Waikato. She has worked at NZME for eight years and been a journalist for 19.