'Pretty unusual' sentencing delays continue for ailing ex-Churchill CAO who pleaded guilty in 2016 to fraud

The former chief administrative officer of Churchill was a no-show in court again Friday due to health issues as his sentencing for defrauding the northern town of $200,000 drags on due to delays.

Albert Meijering in intensive care unit, unable to attend latest in series of sentencing dates for $200K fraud

Albert Meijering, former CAO of the town of Churchill, pleaded guilty to fraud and forgery in 2016. After a series of delays in recent years (two this week alone) he is scheduled to be sentenced next Friday. (Bert Savard/CBC)

The former chief administrative officer of the Town of Churchill was a no-show in court again Friday due to health issues, as his sentencing for a nearly three-year-old guilty plea for defrauding the northern town of $200,000 drags on due to delays.

"As I said last time, it's a pretty unusual set of circumstances we find ourselves in," Manitoba Court of Queen's Bench Justice Chris Martin told Crown prosecutor Peter Edgett in court.

Albert Meijering pleaded guilty in March 2016 to forgery, fraud and breach of trust by a public official, but delay after delay has kept him from being sentenced.

The offences happened between 2011-12 when he was CAO of Churchill, a town of about 900 located 1,000 kilometres north of Winnipeg.

It was Meijering's replacement who uncovered the misdeeds, Edgett said.

The courts have granted Meijering a series of delays and adjournments since he pleaded guilty.

Health issues

At first he was given extra time to try to pay back the town, but he couldn't find the money, Edgett said. Then, a series of health issues cropped up, and on several occasions, he was given more time to recover.

In July, Justice Martin ordered a review of Meijering's medical condition following the series of delays. He also questioned the authenticity of a signed doctor's note Meijering submitted to court attesting to his medical condition.

The note turned out to be a fake; the doctor told court that he had no hand in writing the letter, Edgett said.

For that, Meijering was cited for contempt of court, but has not yet been convicted.

In September, Meijering showed up at his sentencing, but court was told he'd had toes amputated just days before due to the spread of a bone infection.

His sentencing was postponed to this past Monday so he could recover. That morning, Edgett said he was notified Meijering was hospitalized in Winnipeg over the weekend.

Justice Martin said he felt he had been more than lenient with granting delays over the past couple years, so he issued an arrest warrant for Meijering to take effect upon his release from hospital.

Condition 'quite volatile'

Martin rescheduled the sentencing to Friday, but Meijering is now in the intensive care unit in hospital, court heard.

Edgett said in recent days, Meijering has emailed him to say surgery from this past fall led to bone and blood infections. He read out an email he received from Meijering Friday explaining he is now having kidney and liver problems along with constant migraines, and can't walk. 

"It looks like Mr. Meijering is not doing very well," Edgett said, adding Meijering's doctor confirmed he is in intensive care.

"Mr. Meijering's condition has been quite volatile."

Meijering is representing himself.

His sentencing hearing was rescheduled to next week.

About the Author

Bryce Hoye

Reporter

Bryce Hoye is an award-winning journalist and science writer with a background in wildlife biology. Before joining CBC Manitoba, he worked for the Canadian Wildlife Service monitoring birds in Manitoba, the Northwest Territories, Nova Scotia and Alberta. Story idea? Email bryce.hoye@cbc.ca.