Dressage Club treasurer jailed for two years for stealing £23,000

A FORMER honorary treasurer of the Jersey Dressage Club who stole more than £23,000 of the organisation’s funds to pay vet bills and other expenses has been jailed for two years.

The Royal Court building (29178577)
The Royal Court building (29178577)

Jane Dolby (50), who was a senior manager at a bank, began taking money from the club months after she took up the post in November 2017, the Royal Court heard yesterday.

Crown Advocate Mathew Maletroit, prosecuting, said that Dolby had been given access to the club’s online banking account, and there were limited checks and balances on her.

But, Advocate Maletroit added, almost from the beginning Dolby betrayed the faith members had put in her.

The court was told that in March 2018, Dolby transferred £2,000 of the club’s money to her own account because she was overdrawn.

This soon became a regular occurrence. In all, over an 18-month period, Dolby made 21 transactions, and then attempted to cover her tracks by making up excuses for how the money had been spent.

In reality, Advocate Maletroit told the court, she used the money to pay the vets’ bills for treating one of her two horses which ‘she treated as if they were her children’, to pay her mortgage, and for general day-to-day living expenses.

The court was told that her husband, who was self-employed and had experienced a downturn in work, was oblivious to his wife’s offending.

When Dolby took over as treasurer, the club had 75 members and a healthy bank balance, the court was told.

The money, which was raised through subscriptions and from holding fundraising events, was meant to be spent on promoting the sport by bringing UK judges over for local competitions, and by helping fund local competitors with the cost of travel out of the Island. Members soon became suspicious when the number of organised events dropped off.

At a meeting in October 2019 called to discuss the club’s finances, Dolby was unable to answer members’ questions over what had happened to the money, and refused to take any responsibility, simply saying some ‘had gone missing’. Nevertheless, the court was told, she agreed to stand down. Later, when committee members went to Dolby’s house to collect the club’s financial records, she confessed: ‘It was me. I have taken it. I’ll put it back’.

The club contacted the police and Dolby was arrested. When interviewed by them she said: ‘I know what I did was wrong.’

Advocate Lorraine McClure, defending, told the court her client, who admitted larceny, was remorseful, and had done her best to make amends.

Soon after confessing she had transferred £2,000 back into the club’s account. She has since sold her house and cashed in a pension to pay back the outstanding money, Advocate McClure told the court.

Delivering the court’s sentence, Commissioner Julian Clyde-Smith said Dolby’s actions had had a considerable impact on the club and had almost forced it to disband.

He also used the opportunity to issue a general wake-up call to all clubs, saying: ‘It is a reminder that all committee members have a responsibility to make sure safeguards are put in place to make sure committee funds are safe.’

Commissioner Clyde-Smith was sitting with Jurats Tony Olsen, and Robert Christensen.

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