By Delon Shurtz - Lethbridge Herald on December 16, 2023.
The trial for a Lethbridge businessman charged with numerous fraud-related offences, has been cancelled so a new lawyer can get up to speed on the case.
Grant Ryan Stevenson was scheduled to stand trial Jan. 30, but it was vacated after the accused’s lawyer withdrew from the case last month, citing a breakdown in the solicitor-client relationship.
During a brief hearing Friday in Lethbridge court of justice, court was told a pretrial conference is scheduled for Jan. 30 to discuss trial issues and set dates for a new trial. The matter was then adjourned to Feb. 1 to confirm those dates.
Stevenson, 41, pleaded not guilty May 23 to 11 counts of unauthorized use of a credit card and seven counts of using a forged document, and elected to be tried in the Alberta Court of Justice.
The Stirling resident was charged after police with the economic crimes unit began an investigation into Lethbridge business Fisher Diesel in 2021.
Police allege more than two dozen people were defrauded of $500,000 between 2018 and 2021 through business dealings, which included credit card fraud and the advanced payment of fees for services that were not provided.
The matter has been adjourned numerous times since Stevenson was arrested in the summer of 2022. Many of the delays were required to allow the accused time to retain a lawyer, and during a court hearing last December all but 18 of the initial 62 charges were withdrawn. The Crown also confirmed at the time that there are “thousands of pages of disclosure and information.”
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