Evidence in case of alleged Mountie fraud called into question

Admissibility of a bank of evidence has been called into question in the trial of a Mountie accused of extortion, criminal harassment and fraud.

Admissibility of a bank of evidence has been called into question in the trial of a Mountie accused of extortion, criminal harassment and fraud.

RCMP Const. Hoa Dong La, in a judge-alone trial before Justice David Gates in Red Deer Court of Queen’s Bench, is accused of using a variety of tactics for monetary gain involving five different properties in Innisfail and Bowden and in the rural area near Bowden Institution.

He faces 15 counts altogether, including three counts of extortion, two of criminal harassment and 10 of mortgage fraud.

La’s trial, expected to take four weeks, continued on Tuesday with testimony and arguments in a voir dire (a trial within a trial) to determine whether a number of mortgage documents can be included as evidence.

RCMP Sgt. Joseph Sylvain Roussel, who was with the Calgary commercial crimes unit in November 2007 when the investigation was first opened, was called to testify on the methods he used to obtain those documents.

Witnesses whose testimony is not directly connected to the documents will be called to the stand while Crown prosecutors and La’s defence team await Gates’ judgment on the voir dire.

La is on leave with pay.

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