1 Dec 2015

Woman admits stealing Otago University exam papers

1:46 pm on 1 December 2015

A 23-year-old woman has admitted stealing 98 exam papers from Otago University.

There has been a break-in at Otago University.

The papers were taken from an office in Otago University's Clocktower Building Photo: RNZ / Ian Telfer

The completed exam scripts were stolen from an office in the university's Clocktower Building on 7 November.

The woman pleaded guilty at the Auckland District Court today.

Judge Harvey said a psychological report made it clear the woman's mental state was very fragile, and granted her lawyer's request for continued name suppression.

The summary of facts revealed the woman raised the suspicion of an examiner when she went to the toilet three times during an exam.

The examiner found some notes in the toilets and put her papers to one side at the end of the exam.

The woman noticed this, asked if she was in trouble and denied the notes were hers.

That afternoon, she disguised herself and entered the Clocktower Building, where she hid in a cleaning cupboard and under a bed until staff left.

She broke into the office, stole the exam papers and later threw them into the Otago Harbour.

The 23-year-old was supported in court by family. She was remanded on bail to reappear for sentencing on 10 February.

At the time of the theft, the university said the completed scripts covered a range of subjects, from dentistry and politics to English and sports medicine. Most of the students affected by the theft had sat exams earlier in the day and their scripts had not been marked.

The university offered affected students the chance to either re-sit exams or take a grade from internal assessments.