Nova Scotia

Guilty pleas expected from ex-MLA Dave Wilson

Former MLA Dave Wilson will plead guilty to some charges in a spending scandal at the Nova Scotia legislature, the Crown says.

Former MLA Dave Wilson is expected to plead guilty to some charges in a spending scandal at Nova Scotia's legislature, the Crown says.

Wilson, the former Liberal MLA for Glace Bay, is one of four former and current provincial politicians charged in the scandal over constituency spending.

He is facing 31 counts of uttering forged documents and one count each of fraud and breach of trust.

Crown attorney Andrew Macdonald said he agreed to transfer the case to Cape Breton because he expects Wilson to plead guilty to some of the charges.

"We expect that he'll be pleading guilty to charges which reflect all of the criminal conduct that we allege," Macdonald told reporters Friday.

The case was adjourned after a brief hearing in Halifax. It's scheduled to resume Sept. 13 in Sydney.

If Wilson pleads guilty as expected, it will mark the first admittance of guilt in the scandal.

"It should save the taxpayers of Nova Scotia a significant amount of money in terms of the time that would have gone into a trial in this matter," said Macdonald.

Wilson was charged last year following a lengthy investigation by RCMP, along with ex-MLAs Richard Hurlburt and Russell MacKinnon, and current Independent Trevor Zinck.

Auditor General Jacques Lapointe turned over his files to the RCMP after he looked at MLA spending between July 2006 and June 2009 and found "excessive" and "unreasonable" claims by some of the province's 52 MLAs.

Lapointe's report was released in February 2010. In the aftermath, Hurlburt and Wilson resigned their seats and Zinck was kicked out of the NDP caucus. MacKinnon was an MLA until 2006.

Both Wilson and MacKinnon have preliminary hearings scheduled for next year.

Hurlburt has opted for a trial in Nova Scotia Supreme Court before a judge only, though his lawyer has not ruled out the possibility of a guilty plea.

Wilson expected in Sydney court

Wilson wasn't in court on Friday. But Macdonald expects he'll be there on Sept. 13.

"The judge has to make sure that the accused appreciates the nature and consequences of entering a guilty plea," Macdonald said.

Macdonald said it's too early to comment on sentencing recommendations.

He said the maximum sentence for fraud is 14 years in prison.