Judge Rejects Request for Delay in Tracy Kitch’s, former IWK CEO’s, Fraud Trial

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Tracy Kitch, former IWK Health Centre CEO, trial is set to begin Nov. 8 in Nova Scotia provincial court. The start of the fraud trial was originally scheduled to begin next month.

Kitch’s lawyers were in court Tuesday seeking an adjournment with hopes to get contact information and to speak to some of the former board members of the Halifax children’s hospital. They argued delays getting that information presented challenges for their case.

On Wednesday, Judge Elizabeth Buckle said “the defence has had the bulk of the information it needs since June 2nd or 3rd, five months before the start of the trial.” Therefore, ruling against the defence.

Justice Buckle said “In my view, that was sufficient time to incorporate that information into its trial strategy and prepare to cross-examine Crown witnesses using that information.”

Getting Board Member Contacts

Kitch is charged with breach of trust and fraud over $5,000 an investigation into her expenses while she was at the helm of the IWK. In 2017 the investigation found around $47,000 in expenses deemed personal were charged to the hospital. Kitch repaid all the money within months, after she left this position.

The Crown has indicated they will likely call four former board members as witnesses and their statements were provided to the defence through disclosure. In turn, Kitch’s lawyers argued that it has taken a lengthy amount of time to gain the contact information for the other 16 people on the board during her tenure necessitated the delay.

In Buckles decision, she noted that documents released to the defence through disclosure, and information voluntarily released by the office of Nova Scotia’s auditor general, included some or all of the names and contact information.

In June 2020, lawyers for Kitch and Stephen D’Arcy, the hospital’s former CFO who is also facing charges, filed an application for records from the auditor general’s office in relation to an audit it did of the IWK’s financial controls.

Other Ways to Access Information

Buckle stated that the application for that information could have been started sooner and the efforts to find the contact information of former board members could have happened in the meantime. She said “the names of all IWK board members were essentially public information and could have been obtained through reasonable diligence.”

Buckle also noted that she the defence could have contacted the Crown and or lawyers for the IWK, used the information provided by the office of the auditor general or even conducted basic internet searches to get the desired information.

“The public has a right to expeditious determinations in criminal proceedings and Ms. Kitch has a right to a trial within a reasonable period of time. Adjourning this trial at this stage, given its length — four to five weeks — would result in substantial delay.”

Buckle also acknowledged that she would not have that available in her calendar again until next summer or fall. She also said she believes there is sufficient time before the trial begins for the defence to contact the remaining board members but that can be revisited at a later date if necessary.

In an attempt to prevent those efforts, the trial will now begin Nov. 8. This article was originally sourced by CBC.