P.E.I. Presbyterian Minister Harold Alan Stewart had 11 of 22 fraud-related charges against him dropped during a preliminary hearing in Ontario that started last month.
Stewart, 69, is facing charges in the Oshawa area related to two separate alleged victims. The preliminary hearing, which started Sept. 25, was to determine whether there's enough evidence to go to trial.
The charges that remain include fraud under $5,000, unauthorized use of a credit card, fraud over $5,000, uttering a forged document, laundering proceeds of crime, and theft by power of attorney.
The charges that were withdrawn include conspiracy to commit an indictable offence, possession of stolen property, obtained by false pretense over $5,000,
Stewart is charged along with five co-accused. He was first charged in April 2016 and in June 2016 more charges were added.
One case involved an 89-year-old woman who lost about $160,000. Police allege Stewart and his co-accused befriended her and used her credit card without her knowledge.
The other victim, referred to by police as "a vulnerable person," lost more than $325,000.
Hearing continues in November
The preliminary hearing is scheduled for two more days, Nov 15-16. If there is enough evidence to go to trial it will first be scheduled for a judicial pretrial in Superior Court.
Stewart was a Presbyterian minister with the Kensington-New London pastoral charge on P.E.I. at the time the charges were laid, but that appointment ended in October 2016. The church said the end of the appointment was not connected with the criminal charges.
- MORE P.E.I. NEWS | Shorter sentence offers offender chance to appeal deportation
- MORE P.E.I. NEWS | 'I really love it': Program finds workers to meet harvest demands