A 30-year-old Filipino maid was sentenced to 28 days in prison at the Eastern Magistrates’ Court on Thursday after being found guilty on one count of theft.
Margie Lotino, who complained in earlier hearings about a series of alleged strip-searches during police interrogations, has appealed against her sentence, the sunwebhk.com reported.
The defense counsel also applied for bail only minutes after magistrate Simon Ho handed out the sentence, but the application was rejected. The magistrate said he gave weight to the prosecution’s evidence and also to the defendant’s statement to police in which she admitted her guilt.
Ho also said the sentence he imposed was light, considering that the case involved a serious breach of trust.
Lotino’s trial was halted early on when the magistrate decided to call six police officers to the witness stand to respond to the defendant’s complaint that they had made her strip down to her underwear on three separate interrogations.
The Filipino court interpreter was also called to explain why she allegedly told the defendant to admit the offense in her police statement. Ho said the police witnesses were reliable and honest and the court interpreter was independent and accurate and would not have sided with any of the parties in the case.
Lotino was arrested on Jan. 2 for allegedly stealing HK$500 (US$63) and some lip balm from her employer. She pleaded not guilty and claimed she had been set up.
She said she signed a statement admitting the offenses because she was cold, hungry, fatigued from lack of sleep and under intense pressure from body searches and interrogations lasting more than 14 hours before she was freed on bail.