Nova Scotia

Trevor Zinck's fraud trial briefly adjourns

The trial of a Nova Scotia politician charged in the province's constituency allowance spending scandal will resume today at Nova Scotia Supreme Court in Halifax.

Trevor Zinck faces charges of theft, fraud and breach of trust

Dartmouth North MLA Trevor Zinck arrives at the Supreme Court for the start of his trial in Halifax on Monday, June 10, 2013. (Devaan Ingraham/The Canadian Press)

The trial of a Nova Scotia politician charged in the province's constituency allowance spending scandal has been adjourned briefly at the request of the defence.

Independent MLA Trevor Zinck is charged with theft over $5,000, fraud over $5,000 and breach of trust. He was kicked out of the NDP caucus after allegations of financial irregularities in his expenses.

Zinck's lawyer Lyle Howe  said there have been discussions with the Crown, but wouldn't say if his client is considering a plea agreement.

The Crown prosecutor declined comment.

Zinck is one of four politicians charged in February 2011 following an investigation by the province's auditor general into constituency allowance spending. The Dartmouth representative is the only one who now sits in the legislature.

Former Liberal cabinet minister Russell MacKinnon pleaded guilty to breach of trust for submitting nearly $11,000 in false expense claims. He was handed an eight-month conditional sentence and a year of probation in March.

Trevor Zinck is one of four politicians charged in February 2011 following an investigation by the province's auditor general into constituency allowance spending. Richard Hurlburt, Dave Wilson and Russell MacKinnon have all been convicted. (CBC)

 

Dave Wilson, a former Liberal, served four months in jail after admitting to defrauding the public purse of nearly $61,000.

Richard Hurlburt, a former Progressive Conservative cabinet minister, was sentenced to a year of house arrest after pleading guilty to charges of fraud and breach of trust.

Last week, a senior bureaucrat in Nova Scotia's Finance Department testified that rules around expense claims lacked clarity.

In an agreed statement of facts, Zinck admitted that the Speaker's Office reimbursed him for $10,060 in expense claims he filed in 2008 and 2009 even though he never paid those listed in his claims.

Zinck has steadfastly proclaimed his innocence.

Court is expected to resume at 2 p.m.

with files from the Canadian Press

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