Former IWK Health Centre executive headed to trial next May
Tracy Kitch faces charges of fraud over $5,000 and breach of trust
Tracy Kitch spent three years at the helm of the IWK Health Centre. She'll spend next May in a courtroom facing charges of fraud over $5,000 and breach of trust.
On Tuesday, lawyers set aside four weeks for the judge-alone trial in Halifax provincial court, beginning May 4, 2020.
The former CEO of the Halifax-based children's hospital was not in court and has yet to formally enter a plea. Her lawyer, Joel Pink, said that would come sometime before or on the first day of trial.
"There will be a not guilty plea entered on all counts," he told reporters outside a Halifax courtroom.
Pink said he's hoping further meetings with the Crown prosecutor to discuss areas on which they agree could shorten the length of the trial.
"Hopefully we can do this trial within maybe two, two-and-a-half, three weeks," he said.
Kitch stepped down from her job at the hospital in August 2017. The move came several months after reporting by CBC News showed she expensed thousands of dollars in personal charges to a corporate credit card.
A subsequent financial investigation ordered by the hospital's board put the total at $47,000, money Kitch later repaid. The IWK board's chair called in the police following the release of the report.
Crown attorney Peter Dostal said the length of time requested for the trial is due to the matter being a "complex commercial crime fraud," which involves large volumes of documents. The current witness list includes more than 30 people.
Like Pink, Dostal said the Crown would continue to seek agreements on evidence in an effort to reduce the amount of time needed for trial.
But until those agreements are in place, Dostal said the Crown must book the maximum amount of time that would be required to avoid any delays.
In a separate matter in the same courtroom on Tuesday, legal counsel for the hospital's former chief financial officer, Stephen D'Arcy, requested five days for a preliminary inquiry in January.
D'Arcy is charged with breach of trust, mischief to data and unauthorized use of a computer.
He was not in court Tuesday. A designate appearing on behalf of D'Arcy's Toronto-based lawyer, Christi Hunter, said he is looking at a judge and jury trial in Nova Scotia Supreme Court.
Dostal, also the Crown lawyer in D'Arcy's case, said he expects to hear from up to 15 witnesses during the preliminary inquiry.
D'Arcy stepped down from his job a month after Kitch left her post. He repaid the hospital $17,000 related to his own expenses.
Reporting by CBC News showed he was aware of Kitch's expenses and in some cases, helped try to downplay them.