April 19th, 2024

Fraud trial cancelled after case resolved

By Delon Shurtz - Lethbridge Herald on February 23, 2024.

LETHBRIDGE HERALDdshurtz@lethbridgeherald.com

A Lethbridge businessman who was set to stand trial last month on numerous fraud-related offences, is now expected to be sentenced when his matter returns to court in March.

During a brief hearing Thursday in Lethbridge court of justice, defence explained “fruitful” discussions between the Crown and Lethbridge lawyer Scott Hadford have resolved the case against Grant Ryan Stevenson, and the accused is scheduled to be sentenced March 12.

Although Stevenson was scheduled to stand trial for several days beginning Jan. 29, the trial was cancelled after the accused’s previous lawyer withdrew from the case last November, citing a breakdown in the solicitor-client relationship.

Stevenson pleaded not guilty May 23 of last year 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time to retain a lawyer, and during a court hearing in December of 2022 all but 18 of the initial 62 charges were withdrawn. The Crown also confirmed at the time that there were “thousands of pages of disclosure and information.”

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