'Too broke' to dine out, court hears

A LAUNCESTON businesswoman accused of theft was "too broke" to eat out, a court heard today.

Commonwealth prosecutors have accused Newstead woman Susie Fisher of having stolen more than $30,000 from Australia Post, between April 2011 and May 2012, when she was a franchisee.

The franchise was part of her pharmacy business in George Town Road, Newnham.

Ms Fisher has previously pleaded not guilty to three counts of theft.

Today, the Crown called a former bookkeeper of Ms Fisher's to give evidence, who had provided professional services to Ms Fisher.

The woman, who held a Bachelor of Business, with a major in accounting, as at December 2010, told the court that she requested a meeting with Ms Fisher in early 2012, to discuss her financial situation.

"I asked her if she wanted to catch up for dinner at Olive's at Newstead," the witness said.

"We did not go to Olive's because I got an email saying she was 'ostensibly broke'."

The woman said she visited Ms Fisher's house instead.

The witness said she discussed with Ms Fisher an expected 2010 tax bill of about $60,000, and the need to get Ms Fisher's Amex debt "under control" because it was "well over" $100,000.

The woman said she stopped doing bookkeeping for Ms Fisher in May 2012, because she was concerned with the deficiencies in Ms Fisher's safe.

The ex-bookkeeper said she discussed her concerns with her employer, who advised her to stop doing work for Ms Fisher.

"She told me that I should not have told him," the witness said.

The hearing, before magistrate Reg Marron, continues.