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Straits Times Asia
A WOMAN shoplifter sentenced to two weeks’ jail for stealing about $260 worth of items, got away with a $2,000 fine yesterday after she appealed.
Chuah Gin Synn, 29, an Australian administrative officer, pleaded guilty last November to stealing a Triumph bra and 10 blouses from department store Metro’s branch at Causeway Point in Woodlands on Oct 28 last year.
One of the store’s security officers spotted her behaving suspiciously and putting a few items into a black plastic bag that day. She noticed Chuah visiting the store’s fitting rooms several times and, at one point, stuffing a white blouse into the bag while using another blouse to hide what she was doing. She paid for a dress and, before she walked out, took the bra.
Her lawyer, Mr Chen Chee Yen, argued that Chuah, who did not have a lawyer when she pleaded guilty last November, was suffering from depression and on medication at the time of the offence.
Her medical condition, he argued, had caused her to act out of character.
He said that she had been suffering from depression since her father died in 1997, and her condition worsened at the end of 2001, when she broke up with her former boyfriend. Last year, she was so depressed that she even contemplated taking her own life.
Mr Chen said Chuah was very sensitive to stress and experienced frequent anxiety attacks. And her medication, which she had been taking since January last year, affected her concentration and memory.
He said she had been coming to Singapore regularly to see her fiance, a Singaporean, and the couple planned to wed last November. That had been put on hold because of the case.
He urged the court to impose a fine on her as she was a first offender and the value of the items stolen was small. Chief Justice Yong Pung How allowed the appeal and gave her the maximum fine.