A 38-year-old Filipino maid, who had worked for Hong Kong judge Justice Jonathan Harris, was acquitted of theft at the District Court on Friday.
Canacio Marites Patino, the former domestic worker for Justice Harris, pleaded not guilty after being accused of stealing HK$3,700 (US$471) in cash from co-worker Rosiene Cuento Cagalitan, who she shared a room with. They lived in the house of Justice Harris on Mt Kellett Road at The Peak, the Sing Tao Daily reported.
Magistrate Cheung Kit-yee rejected the testimony of Cagalitan, saying her statement was unreliable. Patino originally faced another charge of stealing Justice Harris’ wallet which contained $600, but the charge was later withdrawn.
During the trial, defense counsel tried to show during his cross-examination of Cagalitan that she had conspired with an Indonesian former co-worker to get Justice Harris to fire the newly-hired Canacio, so the Indonesian could resume working in the household.
According to Cagalitan, on Jan 8 she found an envelope containing HK$3,700 cash had disappeared. She claimed she later found it hidden inside Canacio’s pillow, but said $593 was missing.
On Jan 13, the judge terminated the contract with Canacio. Police arrested Canacio at Hong Kong International Airport on Jan 14 as she was about to board a flight to Manila.
After being acquitted of theft charges, Canacio said she would press claims related to her dismissal against Justice Harris, the sunwebhk.com reported, citing an officer from the assistance to nationals section of the Consulate.