July 14th, 2024

Matter for woman accused of stealing from U of L adjourned

By Delon Shurtz - Lethbridge Herald on June 28, 2022.

LETHBRIDGE HERALDdshurtz@lethbridgeherald.com

Scheduling a trial for a Lethbridge woman accused of stealing more than half a million dollars from the University of Lethbridge has been adjourned again to allow time for the appointment of a case management judge.
During a brief hearing Monday in Lethbridge Court of Queen’s Bench, Calgary lawyer Rabie Ahmed, who represents the accused, Donna Court, said he wants the judge to address Section 10(b) of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, which provides anyone who has been arrested or detained by police an opportunity to obtain legal advice.
“I can confirm that that’s the Charter issue that’s been identified that we would want to have addressed by case management,” Ahmed said.
A case management judge typically conducts a hearing in which the parties discuss trial matters, which may include identifying witnesses, admitting certain evidence, agreeing to specific facts and resolving various other issues, all of which are aimed at ensuring a fair and efficient trial.
Court, 58, pleaded not guilty Dec. 7 of last year to charges of fraud over $5,000, theft over $5,000 and possession of stolen property over $5,000. She also elected to be tried by a Court of Queen’s Bench judge, but scheduling a trial has been adjourned several times to appoint the case management judge.
The accused, who is a former accounting clerk at the University of Lethbridge, was charged in April 2021 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 records had been falsified to 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, “abused her detailed knowledge of the financial systems of the U of L and falsified records to conceal the estimated theft of $580,000.”
The matter is scheduled to return to Queen’s Bench criminal appearance court on July 11.

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