Trials in IWK expense scandal pushed into 2019

IWK expense trial pushed to 2019
WATCH: The court cases for two former IWK executives will go ahead in 2019. Elizabeth McSheffrey reports.

The court cases of two former IWK Health Centre executives have been pushed into 2019, as lawyers pore over thousands of documents related to the expense scandal.

Tracy Kitch, the former CEO of the children’s hospital, and Stephen D’Arcy, the ex-chief financial officer, are scheduled to appear in court on April 15 and Feb. 27 respectively, while their defence attorneys review nearly 5,000 pages of disclosure.

Kitch is charged with fraud over $5,000 for allegedly using a hospital credit card to pay for more than $45,000 in personal expenses, and D’Arcy – charged with unauthorized use of a computer and data mischief – is accused of helping her cover it up.

Both are charged with breach of trust and resigned from their positions last year as a result of financial mismanagement affair.

READ MORE: Fraud case against former IWK hospital CEO goes before judge for first time

Crown prosecutor Peter Dostal said the pair will be tried separately to reflect the distinction between evidence that will likely be presented in court.

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“However, (the cases) are related and they are, in a sense, both considered quite serious given that the allegations relate to activities of people in positions of public trust,” he told reporters at provincial court in Halifax on Thursday.

“We’re talking it very seriously and taking a very close look at this file as we proceed.”

D’Arcy is being represented by the Toronto-based Christi Hunter and Kitch is being represented by Halifax lawyer Joel Pink. In court, Pink requested an additional five to six months to review the documents and conduct an independent audit to verify their integrity.

Judge Ann Marie Simmons granted his request, but cut down on the length considerably, as she was “not comfortable” with the delays it would cause.

Pink said he would request an independent audit of any fraud trial with such a “voluminous” load of paperwork.

“It doesn’t matter whether it’s a simple (case) or a complicated one … It’s a matter of course that you just don’t accept what one side says,” he explained. “You got to get your own forensic account to take a look at it and tell me whether or not it’s done properly.”

WATCH: Two former IWK Health Centre executives charged

Two former IWK Health Centre executives charged
Two former IWK Health Centre executives charged

The IWK board of directors filed a complaint about the pair’s activities with Halifax Regional Police in September last year. An independent report later found that Kitch charged more than $47,000 to her corporate credit card, including: $26,463.80 for flight pass usage, $4,636.55 for mobile data overages, $4,474.34 for taxis, $1,580.31 for hotel-related costs, $394.75 for meals, and $161.40 in iTunes charges.

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After the revelations came to light, Kitch reimbursed the IWK in full.

“The last time I talked to her, she said she’s very anxious but she’s ready for the fight,” Pink said of his client on Thursday.

READ MORE: Two former IWK Health Centre executives charged in financial mismanagement investigation

It’s unclear at this point whether either Kitch or D’Arcy will plead guilty to one or more of the charges against them, but Dostal expects more information on the defendants’ directions after their lawyers have gone over the paperwork.

with files from Rebecca Lau