A woman who stole a $10 bottle of wine as a teenager and turned herself in to police four years ago has been denied a real estate agent’s licence as a result.
Larissa Rogers, of Whangārei, gave up her job for a real estate course, got good marks, impressed her tutor and had work lined up.
But a theft conviction has now scuppered her career – and a legal scholar says Rogers’ predicament is common for many young people suffering for years-old run-ins with the law.
Rogers told Stuff she was hugely disappointed, but was weighing up her options for the future.
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“It’s just really unfortunate but … it’s the consequence of my actions four years ago,” she said.
“I’ve basically done what I can with the help and support but there’s nothing else that I can do apart from wait.”
Clean slate laws mean Rogers could conceal her record from 2023, seven years after the conviction.
But the real estate licencing body demanded people had no dishonesty convictions within the past decade.
A recent-released Real Estate Agents Disciplinary Tribunal decision on the matter showed Rogers, 22, was refused a salesperson’s licence because of a May 2016 theft conviction.
“I definitely did not expect it to happen because it was something I blocked out of my life, because I was moving so far forward,” Rogers told Stuff. “I was so young.”
Minor theft offences can often lead to diversion, a discharge without conviction, and are sometimes not even prosecuted in the first place.
Rogers said at aged 18 she was unfamiliar with the legal lexicon and not told how the conviction might impact her.
The Real Estate Agents Authority insisted rules were rules, and there was no discretion to make an exception for Rogers.
Police told the authority Rogers was convicted for stealing a bottle of wine valued at $10 from Ngunguru Foodmart, about 25km from Whangārei, in Northland.
The teenager was asked to pay $130 court costs and $12 reparation.
Rogers told the authority she made a stupid decision when she was young.
“I was not caught at the time, but later, feeling incredibly guilty about what I had done, handed myself in to the police station, admitting the shoplifting, taking full responsibility for my actions, and was charged.”
Rogers said she’d worked hard and changed her life completely since.
“None of my employers have had…