Yellowknife man's guilty plea to be withdrawn after miscommunication, says lawyer

Molson Romie is one of four people who are alleged to have illegally deposited over $23,000 through fraudulent cheques. Romie was scheduled to plead guilty, but at the hearing he told the court he is not responsible for the charges he is facing.

Molson Romie was going to plead guilty to altering cheques, but claimed otherwise at court appearance

Defence lawyer Jay Bran said there must have been a miscommunication with his client, Molson Romie, after he did not plead guilty in territorial court on Monday. Bran believed his client had previously agreed to plead guilty. (Walter Strong/CBC)

A Yellowknife man whose lawyer expected his client to plead guilty to fraud charges decided not to, in N.W.T. territorial court on Monday.

Molson Romie is facing charges for allegedly forging cheques that deposited money from the North Slave Correctional Complex's (NSCC) Inmate Trust Fund from December 2019 to February 2020 into various bank accounts. 

His lawyer, Jay Bran, told the court there must have been a miscommunication as he believed his client had previously agreed to plead guilty. He says Romie is now asking for translation services, but didn't specify for which language.

The plea scheduled for Monday morning at the Yellowknife courthouse was delayed until the afternoon so Romie could speak with Bran. 

When the hearing began, Crown prosecutor Madison Walls listed the charges Romie was facing; they included altering several cheques issued to an associate of Romie by the NSCC's Inmate Trust Fund, and depositing them into two other associate's bank accounts. 

But when Romie was asked how he would be pleading, he stood and told the court that he was only responsible for bringing the cheques to his associates. 

He said he never forged the cheques or deposited them himself. 

Bran then called for another adjournment to speak with Romie. 

When they returned, Bran told the court his client could no longer plead guilty as he did not admit to the charges. 

Romie will appear in territorial criminal court again on Dec. 13, where an application will be made to withdraw the plea deal. 

According to an RCMP press release, Romie was one of four people facing fraud charges for allegedly depositing $23,407.92 into various bank accounts in a series of 36 altered cheques.