Mandurah: Soccer club secretary avoids conviction for stealing club funds

Mandurah: Soccer club secretary avoids conviction for stealing club funds

A WOMAN will have no conviction recorded against her name after she stole $1400 from a children’s soccer club.

Sandra Dawn Martell pleaded guilty in Mandurah Magistrates Court to taking money from the Southern Sharks Soccer Club between June 6 and July 28, last year.

Police prosecutor Jim Scott told the court Martell was a member of the club and part of the fundraising committee.

The club ordered fundraising chocolates to be disseminated and sold by members.

Martell was responsible for banking the profit from the sales.

She later had an attack of conscience and admitted to the club she had taken the money and paid back $500.

The club were going to make arrangements for Martell to pay the money back, but they got police involved.

The court heard that Martell was going to use the funds for a holiday for her children.

Duty lawyer Clare Hay said Martell’s family were in dire financial circumstances after her husband lost his job.

She said Martell was studying to become an aged caregiver and needed a police clearance in order to get a job in the industry.

It was on this basis that she applied for a spent conviction.

Sgt Scott opposed the spent conviction because it is hard for sporting groups to raise funds.

“It is an offence of the higher order, she was given the responsibility by the group she worked for and she betrayed that,” he said.

Martell sobbed as Magistrate Vivien Edwards made her decision.

Magistrate Edwards said she had some misgivings about granting the spent conviction.

“There are vulnerable people in aged care and it is easy for them to be taken advantage of,” she said.

“An employer would like to know if a person has convictions for dishonesty.”

Regardless, Magistrate Edwards granted the spent conviction and fined Martell $1000.

She said it was in Martell’s favour that she brought the stealing offence to the club’s attention and it was clear by her demeanour that she was remorseful for her actions.