Thursday, 1 September 2011

Allegations of shoplifting aired in Court

Senator Mary Jo Fisher looked 'scared' outside store when stopped by security guard

Senator Mary Jo Fisher arrives at an Adelaide court to face theft and assault charges. Picture: Kelly Barnes Source: The Australian

South Australian Liberal senator Mary Jo Fisher repeatedly asked a supermarket security guard if there was a way to avoid being charged with shoplifting, a court has heard.

Adelaide Magistrates Court also heard the security guard and supermarket employees were pressured to drop assault and theft charges, and that CCTV footage of the incident has been erased.

Senator Fisher, 48, has pleaded not guilty in the Adelaide Magistrates Court to stealing $92.92 worth of food from a Foodland store in Adelaide on December 15, 2010, and to assaulting a security guard who tried to stop her leaving.

Security guard Cathryn Groot this morning told the court how she had watched Senator Fisher rearrange articles in her canvas shoping trolley to ensure they appeared flat before proceeding to a checkout, where she placed several items she was carrying in her arms on the conveyor belt.

She told the court she followed Senator Fisher to her car and convinced her to return to the supermarket to be interviewed, before the senator asked to go to the toilet.

Ms Groot then said Ms Fisher panicked and left the supermarket for her car, where she pushed the security guard and tried to close her car door on her arm several times. The guard said she didn't know who the senator was when she took her inside to the supermarket office.

“Fisher said, `Is there any way out of this?', and I said, `No',” Ms Groot said.

The senator asked to use the bathroom and tried to leave again, she said.“She appeared scared,” Ms Groot said of Senator Fisher.

“She was saying she couldn't deal with it, she needed fresh air. “She pushed me out of the way and got into her car ... she tried closing the door several times, it was closing on my arm ... she was a little rough.

“Fisher said, `Is there no other way to resolve this?' I continued to say, `No'.”

Prosecutor Sergeant Brendon Beh said Senator Fisher had told police she realised she didn't have enough money to pay for all the goods, so she paid for some and got into her car to get more money.

The senator also told the police she did not let Foodland staff know what she was doing when she went to the car.

Later that night she went back to Foodland and paid for the items.
The case is continuing.

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