A former assistant manger of Waroeng Penyet was cleared of misappropriating $10,734 because the restaurant's cash accounting system was in the judge's words "severely flawed".
"These flaws permitted a whole range of abuses by a whole range of possible persons," said District Judge Eugene Teo in his judgment on Thursday before granting Mr Abdul Shukor Mohamad Ezat a discharge amounting to an acquittal.
The judge noted that Mr Shukor, 26, became the main suspect because he was in charge of the accounts and had also failed to submit monthly sales reports since August 2011, around the time when the money started to go missing at the restaurant in Bugis.
"Whilst I would accept that he did bear responsibility as a manager and had failed to discharge his duties diligently , these facts do not - objectively - become evidence that he did dishonestly take the monies."
During the 14-day trial, the prosecution also argued that Mr Abdul Shukor had admitted guilt by signing an I.O.U. But defence counsel Terence Seah had submitted that his client was not in a proper state of mind when signing the document as the restaurant's boss, Mr Anthony Arifin, had threatened him with criminal prosecution if he did not do it.
Agreeing, Judge Teo said that having examined the evidence and the treatment that Mr Abdul Shukor was subjected to, he shared the defence's concerns about placing any meaningful relevance upon the I.O.U. as an admission of guilt.
Mr Seah acted on a pro bono basis under the Criminal Legal Aid Scheme.