The Province, theprovince.com
BYLINE: Paul J. Henderson, Chilliwack Times
Scales of Justice
Jaime Tiller wept openly before and after a BC Supreme Court jury declared her guilty of theft and breach of trust for stealing $2,800 from the Chilliwack RCMP exhibit room in 2011.
The nine women and three men of the jury deliberated for nearly two days before deciding on the guilty verdicts Friday morning.
Tiller faces the possibility of jail time, but lead Crown Louisa Winn said a decision hasn't been made on how long they will ask for. Crown will also ask that Tiller be ordered to pay restitution to the City of Chilliwack for the stolen money.
Justice Miriam Gropper ordered a pre-sentence report and a psychological report be completed, the latter of which was requested by Tiller's lawyer, Gurpreet Gill.
The case against Tiller, who was an exhibit custodian at the Chilliwack detachment and a municipal employee, included no direct evidence but was entirely circumstantial in nature.
That circumstantial evidence included the fact that in one instance in 2011, Tiller deposited 42 $20 bills, 12 $10 bills and eight $5 bills into a bank account, for a total of $1,000. Those denominations matched precisely money missing from an exhibit file.
Two other stolen exhibits—one of $1,000 and one of $800—also were made up of denominations matching precisely amounts deposited into Tiller's own and her landlord's bank accounts.
"This is a simple case about a person who stole three cash exhibits and deposited them for her own benefit," Winn told the jury of nine women and three men in her final submissions.
"Those three cash exhibits matched exactly the three deposits Jaime Tiller made."
While Tiller was convicted for stealing $2,800 from three files, she was first charged with theft of close to $40,000 connected to 19 RCMP exhibits.
Crown decided it could not prove beyond a reasonable doubt Tiller was responsible for the 16 other missing exhibits.
In her final submissions, Tiller's defence lawyer Gurpreet Gill said the Crown's theory had some "serious, serious flaws." She pointed to the circumstantial evidence of the case—there were no fingerprints or DNA, no witnesses saw Tiller steal the money and investigators could not even say when the cash went missing.
Gill told the jury that it was just as likely another exhibit custodian, Don Reimer, was the culprit. Despite his extensive experience and his work "straightening out" the exhibit room, Reimer was twice overlooked for a promotion by a supervisor he said did not like him.
Gill argued that Reimer was the one constant in the exhibit room over the period of time the money was deposited.
"Is it just a coincidence that it was Mr. Reimer who was the last one to touch these cash exhibits?" she asked.
Final submissions after the three-week trial wrapped up Tuesday afternoon, and Justice Miriam Gropper issued her charge to the jury Wednesday morning. By Wednesday afternoon the jury began its deliberations.
City of Chilliwack director of corporate services Rob Carnegie and CUPE local 548 union president Bryan Bickley, both of whom testified in the case, were in the gallery to hear the verdict Friday.
Sentencing is expected to take place in the fall.
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