News24 – SAPA
Cape Town – Former SA Airways hostess Linda Charity Danie was sentenced on Tuesday to a fine of R1500.00 or five months’ jail for stealing a passenger’s diamond ring. She appeared in Bellville Magistrate’s Court before David Tonisi, who sentenced her to an additional 10 months’ jail, conditionally suspended for five years. He told her: “I am giving you another chance in life with the suspended jail sentence, and I hope you make use of it – and remember, nothing is free.” Danie, 30, took the ring worth R10000 on a flight from Johannesburg to London. The magistrate agreed with prosecutor Tracy Lewis that the offence was a serious one as Danie stole the ring while in a position of trust. Tonisi rejected her defence that she picked up the ring in the plane’s toilet and forgot to immediately hand it in as lost property. Tonisi said she had had the ring for a few days, before investigators found it in her possession. Tonisi told her: “That menas you had by then formed the intention to keep it for yourself, which is theft.”
Accepted her remorse
An aggravating factor was that she deliberately kept quiet about her find, after the owner had reported her loss during the flight – triggering a search for the ring by other crew on the plane. Tonisi said he accepted her remorse, as shown by the fact that she had attended every hearing since her arrest three years ago. Defence lawyer Ben Mathewson assured the court that Danie had learnt her lesson, and would never again stand in the prisoner’s dock of a courtroom. Tonisi said the theft was motivated by greed, as Danie had a good job as an air hostess.