Hairdresser faces court for alleged theft

A GLADSTONE woman pleaded not guilty to stealing as a servant when she appeared in Gladstone District Court yesterday.

Crown Prosecutor Sal Vasta alleged in court Sara Jane Ruddell stole over $28,000 in cash and "tens of thousands'' of dollars worth of stock over an 18 month period working for a hairdressing salon in Gladstone.

Mr Vasta said between July 17, 2001 and March 5, 2003 Ruddell, who was manager of the Gladstone salon, used the company's computer system to delete transactions and alter stock orders to commit the theft.

He said Ruddell, as manager of the store, had access to trans action records and was able to make deletions of sales and stock orders.

However, he said the deletions were recorded by the head office in Mackay and were found to occur during the times Ruddell was working.

He argued Ruddell was responsible for the banking and balancing of the till at the end of each day, and was generally the first person to arrive at the salon and the last person to leave when working at the store.

He said Ruddell was one of two employees at the Gladstone salon who had access to delete transactions and sales records from the system, and the logs of the transactions, viewed by the Mackay office, showed that Ruddell consistently made more deletions than managers at each of the stores.

Upon calling his first witness, Mr Vasta said there were various levels of access to the computer system at the salon, and only store managers were able to delete any transactions or stock items.

The witness told the court that stock requirements could be adjusted by the store manager without the head office being aware, until an order was placed.

The trial will recommence today with the Defence expected to cross-examine the first witness.



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