EDMONTON — Stealing mail must mean jail, a judge has ruled in ordering a fired Canada Post employee to serve a six-month term behind bars.

Provincial court Judge Marlene Graham said Friday it would have been inappropriate to sentence Jojie Tinio to a conditional term of house arrest for pilfering $12,500 in traveller’s cheques.

Tinio, 24, will also serve 18 months probation and deal with his yet untreated gambling problems.


He must also repay $7,650 — his share of the stolen cheques.

On three occasions in January, 2007, Tinio took American Express travellers cheques and with the help of two accomplices cashed them at Calgary banks.

Defence lawyer Mark Walters said Tinio had a gambling problem at the time of the thefts, but since then has stopped going to casinos and now lives with his girlfriend and her family in Chilliwack, B.C.

But Graham agreed with Crown prosecutor Deven Singhal jail was required to deter others from committing similar crimes.

“People must know that if they steal mail ... they will be treated severely,” Graham said.

“We must maintain confidence in our national, governmental postal and courier service,” she said.

“The citizens of Canada depend on Canada Post to handle their mail securely and reliably and a person working at Canada Post ... occupies a position with a very high degree of trust.”

Singhal had suggested a sentence of nine to 12 months, but Graham decided to show some mercy.

“This is in my view the most lenient sentence I could give you,” she said.