September 26th, 2021

Delays causing frustration in case of U of L clerk charged with theft


By Delon Shurtz on September 15, 2021.

LETHBRIDGE HERALDdshurtz@lethbridgeherald.com

After numerous adjournments and repeated requests for disclosure, the lawyer representing a former University of Lethbridge accounting clerk accused of stealing more than half a million dollars, is getting frustrated with the lengthy delays.
Calgary lawyer Rabie Ahmed said Tuesday in Lethbridge provincial court he is still waiting for additional disclosure following an 18-month police investigation of his client, Donna Court.
Ahmed said he has received 60 pages of disclosure so far from Special Prosecutions in Calgary, but he has repeatedly requested more, and each time he’s told the information is forthcoming.
“It’s been forthcoming for quite some time now,” he told judge Kristen Ailsby.
Ahmed said the case has reached the point where it “needs to start moving,” and he requested a short, two-week adjournment to receive the additional disclosure.
“I want to keep a short leash on it.”
Lethbridge Crown Prosecutor Bruce Ainscough noted he would also send an email to the Calgary prosecutor, Tony Bell, and remind him of defence’s request.
Court, 57, was charged in April with fraud over $5,000, theft over $5,000 and possession of stolen property over $5,000, following a police investigation that began in 2018. The U of L contacted police after detecting a potential fraud through its internal processes, and investigators with the economic crimes unit of the Lethbridge Police Service determined an employee had used her position at the university to falsify records and conceal the theft of more than $500,000.
“In March 2018, University of Lethbridge employees discovered a fraud perpetrated by a fellow employee,” the university said in a statement following Court’s arrest.
The statement said an employee with more than 30 years of experience at the University, allegedly “abused her detailed knowledge of the financial systems of the U of L and falsified records to conceal the estimated theft of $580,000.”
Court was fired after the alleged fraud and theft were discovered.

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