Charges have been stayed against a man who was accused of defrauding the Waskesiu Wilderness Association in January 2018.
George Wilson was accused of misdirecting funds from the regional destination marketing organization after the board became aware of anomalies while finalizing 2014-15 reports.
Wilson was charged by the Waskesiu RCMP and the investigation also involved organization within the City of Prince Albert.
Charges were stayed this year due to concerns with a delay in proceedings, Crown prosecutor Tyrell Taylor confirmed. He was unable to comment further other than to say he was “disappointed” with the results of the case.
The stay was entered by the Crown after Wilson’s defence counsel, Peter Abrametz Junior, filed an application requesting that the court enter a stay based on a delay and based upon a “perceived lack of objectivity from the justice of the peace.”
The second accusation is from a sworn affidavit signed by Wilson. Abrametz said the justice of the peace involved with the case had served on a board with Wilson as part of an organization that was a “constituent member” of the complainant.
The concern around how long it took for the case to proceed through the court is based on the “Jordan Decision”, named for a case, R. v. Jordan, heard by the Supreme Court in 2016. The decision established a ceiling of 18 months from the time a charge is laid to when a trial can begin.
“Poor George. There were all sorts of fanfare when he was charged. It’s been difficult for the poor guy,” Abrametz said, adding that his client was “relieved” and looking forward to enjoying his summer.
Wilson addressed the case in a written statement delivered to the Daily Herald.
“I am happy to report that charges against me have been dropped,” he said.
“I don’t think that I should ever have been charged.”
“From the outset, I requested a forensic audit and indicated that I would cooperate,” Wilson claimed.
“Instead … I was charged criminally. I am innocent and I have always believed in serving and bettering the community. I will continue to do so.”
Wilson also wrote that the RCMP and city police need to be “more careful” to guard against political pressure or bias in a police investigation.