I just saw this report from the Evening Standard. Imagine what would happen if a 37-year old man did this:
- had a gambling addiction
- was an accountant for a tech company
- created over 400 fake invoices
- stole £350,000 in one year
- spent £250,000 of it playing online poker
- concealed details to avoid being caught
Now imagine what would happen if the only altered detail was that it was a 37-year old black woman.
Unbelievably, Natalie Saul, the thief in question, was given a two-year suspended sentence, 250 hours unpaid work, and a fine of £360 (and I haven’t missed any 0s off that). She was defended by a woman, Lucie Daniels, whose pathetic mitigating plea included:
This offending is so out of character, she has worked hard and paid her taxes and been a responsible citizen…
The judge, Catherine Newman – yes, that’s right: a woman – said:
It has caused considerable harm to your employer which could ill afford to lose such a substantial sum, but thankfully survived. Your grandmother’s death rocked the stability of your hitherto good citizenship.
You had a steady partner who had no idea of your gambling addiction and stands by you. I’m prepared to take the wholly exceptional course of reducing your sentence and suspend it.
Saul was only caught when she went on maternity leave (sigh) and the new accountant uncovered the fraud. Incidentally, it isn’t made clear what happened to the other £100,000 she ripped off.
Newman also said:
I’m taking a considerable risk that the Crown will think it lenient and appeal, but it’s a risk I’m willing to take.
Let’s hope the Crown agrees, does appeal, and also kicks Newman out for gross incompetence (not to mention what appears to be overt discrimination). If Saul had been a man, they’d be arguing the upper sentencing limit wasn’t enough, but Newman seems to think that even the lower limit isn’t low enough for a woman. Thank God for equality, eh?