A public penalty

The Dom Post reports:

Labour Party member and former Parliamentary staffer Sonny Thomas has admitted taking $4183.90 from his boss Phil Twyford and his wife, stealing a cash machine card to withdraw money and racking up and drink bills in his name.

Thomas, 24, was Mr Twyford’s executive assistant and would buy for him when he was unable to get his own.

Thomas bought over $877 of and drink for himself while getting things for Mr Twyford.

He also went into Mr Twyford’s office while he was at meetings and took a credit card.

Using knowledge of Mr Twyford’s personal details and access numbers he guessed his PIN and withdrew $3560 over several months.

Thomas was asked about some extra transactions over the and drink and said a mistake had been made and paid back $254.

He pleaded guilty to theft and fraudulently obtaining a financial advantage and Wellington District Court judge Michael Turner sentenced him to 250 hours community work and ordered him to pay back the money within a month.

Judge Turner said initially Thomas did not admit his wrongdoing when asked about the extra and drink charges.

He said Thomas explained he had done it because he was helping an ill family member which was stretching his own financial means.

”You are a talented young man with a promising career in public service and politics which has been brought to an abrupt end,” he told Thomas.

Outside court Thomas apologised.

”I have made an enormous mistake under trying personal circumstances for which I am very sorry. No justifications can be made to excuse my actions,” Thomas said.

There are many great things about working in Parliament, but one of the not so great things is if you do something wrong, it is far more likely to be news worthy.

I’ve always got on fine with Sonny, and admired his commitment to politics. It is a shame he let himself down, as well as his boss and colleagues.

However there is a very good saying about let he who is without sin, cast the first stone. I basically divide people up into three categories:

  1. Saints
  2. Bad people
  3. Good people who sometimes do a bad thing

I’ve yet to meet any of (1). Maybe that is just the circles I hang in 🙂

For my 2c, I think Sonny is very much in category (3). He’s a good person who did a bad thing. But that shouldn’t go on to define him.

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