December 2, 2023

Nova Scotia’s prosecution service says it will proceed with a new trial for a former children’s hospital CEO, after Canada’s top court refused on Thursday to hear the Crown’s appeal of a ruling that quashed her fraud conviction.

As is customary, the Supreme Court of Canada did not explain its decision to deny leave to appeal the case against Tracy Kitch, former chief executive of the IWK Health Centre, in Halifax.

“While this is not the outcome we were hoping for, we will be proceeding with the trial,” a spokeswoman for the Nova Scotia Public Prosecution Service said in an email.

There was no immediate word from officials about when the case would return to court, while Kitch’s lawyer, Brian Greenspan, was not immediately available to comment.

Kitch was sentenced to five months in jail in August 2022 for allegedly using her corporate credit card to pay for $47,000 in personal expenses, and was released on bail pending her appeal. In March, the Nova Scotia Court of Appeal called for a new trial for Kitch.

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Nova Scotia’s top court said the trial judge failed to adequately explain the reasons behind his decision to convict Kitch in February 2022 for fraud over $5,000 for billing personal expenses to the hospital.

According to a short summary on the Supreme Court’s website, the Crown wanted the court to determine a number of questions, including whether the trial judge’s reasons for the conviction were sufficient and whether the Nova Scotia Court of Appeal’s decision imposed on the court an “otherwise non-existent burden of proof.”

Kitch was appointed as the hospital’s CEO in 2014 and provided with a corporate credit card that she acknowledged in writing was not for personal use. Subsequently, hospital staff found it difficult to track her business and personal expenses.

In October 2016 her expense records were posted on a public website, as required by the provincial government, and eventually drew media attention. Kitch was charged in October 2018.

The three-member appeal court panel said trial Judge Paul Scovil’s decision may have been based on Kitch’s procedural or ethical breaches, which didn’t “translate directly to a conviction for fraud or fraud by a public officer.” The panel added that Scovil’s reasoning wasn’t clear.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 16, 2023.

&copy 2023 The Canadian Press


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