Saskatchewan

Regina woman accused of $5M fraud must represent herself at her trial

Alena Pastuch's trial will begin October 15.

Alena Pastuch's trial will begin October 15

Alena Pastuch's trial will begin October 15. (CBC)

A Regina woman accused of defrauding investors in Saskatchewan, Alberta and British Columbia of millions will have to represent herself at trial.

Alena Pastuch was charged with fraud, theft and laundering the proceeds of crime in 2014. Her alleged crimes took place over a span of seven years and she's accused of defrauding investors in Western Canada of nearly $5 million.

Police began an investigation into Pastuch and her business dealings in 2010 after three separate investors filed complaints against her.

Pastuch​ was in court Monday to request what would be her fourth court-appointed lawyer since proceedings began. The Crown said that if the court were to grant her another lawyer, there would likely be problems with that one as well. 

Her latest lawyer, Cory Wilson, withdrew from proceedings September 10, which was the day the trial was supposed to begin. He advised the court that there had been an irreparable breakdown in their relationship. 

Wilson told Justice Richard Elson that he could not disclose the nature of the relationship breakdown, but said his concerns and ethical obligations required him to step away.

Pastuch requested that the trial be conducted under a publication ban. She said that news coverage of court proceedings up to that point had been detrimental to her reputation. That request was denied. 

Her request for another lawyer was also denied. Pastuch will have to represent herself when her trial begins October 15. The Crown stated they would be calling at least 35 witnesses. 

With files from Kendall Latimer and Marie-Christine Bouillon

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