Fraud charges dropped against Innisfail woman

RCMP had alleged $54,000 was mis-appropriated from a professional association

Fraud charges laid against an Innisfail woman in the summer have been stayed.

Crown prosecutor Bruce Ritter told Red Deer provincial court Judge Jim Hunter on Monday he would not be proceeding with the charges laid against Pamela Bernard.

As is usual, the prosecutor did not say why the charges were being stayed.

Defence lawyer Maurice Collard said after speaking with the Crown prosecutor at length, and reviewing disclosure evidence, “they did not have a reasonable likelihood of conviction, or it was not in the public interest. They did not provide their reasons for the stay.”

Bernard is presumed innocent under the law and “today she remains presumed innocent,” said Collard outside court.

“These allegations remain just allegations and she looks forward to putting them behind her and restoring her reputation in regards to this unfortunate set of circumstances that has been brought upon her.”

Bernard was charged in July following an investigation by the Red Deer RCMP financial crime unit.

It was alleged that while working as executive director of a local professional association, Bernard misused more than $54,000 in funds for her personal use between September 2015 and 2017.

She was charged with three counts of fraud over $5,000 and two counts each of fraud under $5,000, theft under $5,000, theft over $5,000 and falsification of books or documents.

A stay means prosecutors are not intending to pursue the charges. They can be reactivated within a year, but that rarely happens.

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