You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

University exam paper thief sentenced

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 29/04/2016

A university student who stole nearly 100 completed exam papers and threw them into the Otago Harbour has been sentenced to a year of supervision.

The 24-year-old woman, who has been given permanent name suppression, on Friday appeared a the Auckland District court where she was sentenced for the burglary last year - and ordered to pay $6400 in reparations.

Her lawyer, Stuart Grieve, QC, requested the woman be discharged without conviction, saying despite the damage caused to a historic building and the stress placed on other students, the offending wasn't as serious as had been made out.

In November last year, an examiner had found notes in a toilet where the woman had gone three times during a test, and set her paper aside as suspicious.

Later that day the student hid in a cupboard at the University of Otago's registry office, wearing gloves and a balaclava.

She sprung out once the office had closed for the day and used an axe to get to her paper, along with 97 others - including scripts for dentistry, health, English and politics papers.

After changing clothes, she threw the papers into the Otago Harbour, making them unusable.

Mr Grieve said she had been painted as a cheater, driven by a desire to cover up her cheating, but the evidence didn't prove she had ever cheated in the exam.

"She's consistently denied that," he said.

She had turned herself into police the day after the theft and pleaded guilty, he said.

But Judge David Sharp said while he acknowledged all that, the charge was too serious to avoid conviction.

"I am still left with an offence that is troubling to say the least," he said, adding he had to consider the stress it put on other students.

Judge Sharp ordered the woman's name be kept secret due to the content of two medical reports that were given to the court.

University deputy proctor Andrew Ferguson told reporters outside the court he would not comment on whether she would be returning as a student.

The university allowed affected students to resit their exam or take a grade based on their performance throughout the year.

image beaconimage beaconimage beacon