Nova Scotia

Zinck maintains innocence as preliminary inquiry ends

Trevor Zinck, MLA for Dartmouth North, says he is anxious to clear his name on charges of theft over $5,000, fraud over $5,000 and breach of trust.

Ex-MLA's preliminary hearing wraps after 2 days, trial likely in 2013

MLA Trevor Zinck once again declares his innocence after a two-day preliminary inquiry wrapped in Halifax. (CBC)

Trevor Zinck, MLA for Dartmouth North, says he is anxious to clear his name on charges of theft over $5,000, fraud over $5,000 and breach of trust.

Zinck made the comments this morning after the two-day preliminary inquiry wrapped, in which he was committed to stand trial in Nova Scotia's Supreme Court.

Zinck, who now sits as an independent, was kicked out of the NDP two years ago and subsequently charged with filing false expense claims.

He was one of four MLAs charged in February 2011, following an eight-month investigation by RCMP.

Auditor General Jacques Lapointe's audit into MLA spending between July 2006 and June 2009 found "excessive" and "unreasonable" claims by some of the province's 52 MLAs.

Richard Hurlburt, formerly Conservative MLA for Yarmouth, pleaded guilty in April to defrauding taxpayers and breach of trust. He will be sentenced next month.

Dave Wilson, a former Liberal MLA for Glace Bay, was sentenced to nine months in jail after pleading guilty last fall to uttering forged documents, and one count each of fraud and breach of trust.

Russell MacKinnon, former Liberal MLA for Cape Breton West, pleaded not guilty to eight counts of uttering forged documents and one count each of fraud over $5,000 and breach of trust. He's scheduled to go to trial next year.

'My name will be cleared'

Zinck has elected trial by judge alone.

Zinck and his lawyer Lyle Howe, heard some of the Crown’s evidence against Zinck Friday.

Today, Zinck suggested the charges may be politically motivated.

"There was a reason why I was thrown into this investigation, and we’re going to see that come out and my name will be cleared," Zinck said.

There is a wide publication ban on any evidence heard during the hearing.

Crown Attorney Andrew Macdonald says he's confident in the Crown's case. (CBC)

While Zinck says he’s confident he'll be cleared, Crown attorney Andrew Macdonald believes the Crown has a strong case

"We’ve been confident from the outset that we have a realistic prospect of conviction in this matter, and nothing has changed," Macdonald told CBC News.

Trial dates would likely not happen until sometime in 2013, MacDonald said.

"We’re very confident in what we’ve seen put forward by the Crown," Zinck said. "I’m interested in getting this resolved as soon as possible."

There have been several delays for the preliminary hearing, in which Judge Anne Derrick expressed frustration.

The case will move to Supreme Court in July to determine trial dates.

In the meantime, Zinck says he will continue to sit in the legislature and serve his constituents.