The trial for former cabinet minister Russell MacKinnon is underway in Halifax.


Russell MacKinnon arrives at court in Halifax on Tuesday. (Craig Paisley/CBC)


The former MLA for Cape Breton West faces eight counts of fraud, forgery and breach of trust for claims from 2005 and 2006.

MacKinnon allegedly billed taxpayers for payments he says he made to people who did temporary work for him at his constituency. The Crown says that work never happened.

The case is expected to last five days.


Jocelyn Scallion, an official from the legislature's speaker's office, was the witness on Tuesday and testified about how claims are made.

In court Scallion confirmed expense receipts that MacKinnon submitted from 2003 to 2006.

This is the first trial stemming from the MLA expense scandal.

Former MLAs Dave Wilson and Richard Hurlburt both entered guilty pleas to charges they defrauded taxpayers. Wilson was given a nine-month jail sentence.

Hurlburt is serving one year of house arrest.

The only sitting MLA charged — Trevor Zinck, the independent member for Dartmouth North — is scheduled to go on trial in June.

MacKinnon was first elected to the provincial legislature in 1988.

with files from The Canadian Press