When Kevin Gardner co-signed a cheque to help a woman cash it at a bank his actions were stupid, but not criminal, according to a provincial court judge.
Wayne Gorman acquitted the man of charges of uttering forged documents and fraud under the premise that the morally innocent should not be convicted.
Essentially, the judge was satisfied Gardner did not understand, or intend, the consequences of his actions.
He was fooled or “taken in” by Julia Hussey — who was also charged with uttering forged documents and fraud.
On Aug. 16, Gardner brought Hussey into the bank, claiming she was his niece and she did not have a bank account but wanted to cash a cheque.
Relying upon Gardner’s identification, the employee did so. Both Gardner and Hussey signed the cheque worth $437.50 — Hussey did so using the name on the cheque and not her own.
The bank later withdrew the money from Gardner’s account after it was determined Hussey was not who she claimed.
Gardner later went to the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary complaining of being defrauded by Hussey. He admitted to lying to the bank that she was his niece, but that he did not know her name and thought he was helping her. He told police then he made a “stupid mistake.”
The bank employee also testified she believed Gardner was blindsided by Hussey.
Crown attorney Brenda Duffy argued a conviction should be entered based on the concession that he lied to the bank and the deprivation and risk of deprivation which this caused.
“Mr. Gardner honestly (though somewhat naively) believed that he was facilitating (yes, through a lie) a legitimate financial transaction which would not deprive the Bank of its monies or place it at risk of being deprived,” Gorman stated in dismissing the fraud charge.
“In this case, once Ms. Hussey falsely endorsed the cheque, it became a forged document. However, Mr. Gardner did not know this. He believed that the cheque belonged to Ms. Hussey and that the signature she placed upon it was that of the owner of the cheque,” Gorman stated in dismissing the uttering a forged document charge.
Hussey will appear in provincial court to face related charges April 1. She is facing a total of 27 charges.