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A woman has been convicted for stealing nearly 100 exam papers from Otago University and throwing them in the harbour late last year.
The woman—who has been granted permanent name suppression due to mental health issues—hid inside a cleaning cupboard until staff had gone home in order to steal the papers.
The 23 year old pleaded guilty to one charge of burglary in the Auckland District Court last month. She was sentenced to one year on home detention and ordered to pay a reparation of $6400.
Judge David Sharp described the woman in his conviction summary as “a good student with a lot of talent.”
He went on to explain the lengths the Otago University student went to by saying, “what you did was not highly sophisticated… but notwithstanding that, what you did was relatively determined.”
Along with her conviction, the woman has been suspended from Otago University with a decision on whether she can return pending.
The series of events unfolded during the defendant’s exam. After using the toilet three times the invigilators became suspicious of her actions and found notes around her desk.
While she acknowledged the existence of the notes she denied they were hers. After the exam her paper was kept separate from the other exams.
The summary of facts detailed her actions the afternoon following the exam.
The woman grabbed a pair of rubber gloves, a hoodie, and a balaclava and drove to the campus where she hid in a cleaning cupboard until staff had gone home and the building was locked up. She smashed her way through various rooms, setting off silent alarms as she ransacked the offices.
On discovery of her paper she took the 97 other exam scripts from subjects including dentistry, english, political studies, and health.
She stuffed them in a plastic bag and left through the main entrance, later driving to Ravensbourne where she threw the stolen papers into the harbour.
Her actions were described as “calculated and premeditated” and it was stressed that Otago University opposed a discharge without conviction.