Charges dismissed against former IWK financial executive

·3 min read
Stephen D'Arcy is seen in this file photo from 2017. D'Arcy resigned from his post at the IWK in 2017, and was charged the following year. (CBC - image credit)
Stephen D'Arcy is seen in this file photo from 2017. D'Arcy resigned from his post at the IWK in 2017, and was charged the following year. (CBC - image credit)

A Nova Scotia provincial court judge dismissed charges against the IWK Health Centre's former chief financial officer on Tuesday after the Crown announced it would offer no evidence in the matter.

A multi-week trial had been scheduled to begin May 30 for Stephen D'Arcy on charges of breach of trust, mischief to data and unauthorized use of a computer.

"In the assessment and ongoing preparations for the trial, we made the determination that the evidence is insufficient to create a realistic prospect of conviction," Crown attorney Peter Dostal told Judge Marc Chisholm.

"Therefore we are discontinuing this matter."

D'Arcy's lawyer, Christie Hunter, moved for the dismissal of charges. She and D'Arcy appeared in a Halifax courtroom via telephone link.

"Obviously this was a concerning matter, which was investigated thoroughly, and a very trying time for Mr. D'Arcy," Hunter said in an email to CBC News.

"We are grateful that after careful consideration of further, accurate specifics of the evidence, Mr. Dostal has come to the conclusion that he cannot prosecute the case and it is in everyone's best interest that the prosecution end today.

"Mr. D'Arcy has always been grateful for the tremendous outpouring of support from fellow coworkers and friends over these difficult years."

New evidence created inconsistencies

D'Arcy was charged in 2018 after a police investigation found he allegedly obstructed access to information requests related to the personal expenses of the hospital's then CEO Tracy Kitch. Kitch was later convicted of fraud over $5,000 for expensing personal charges to the hospital. She's scheduled for sentencing in August.

Outside the courtroom Tuesday, Dostal told reporters it's common for new information to present itself in the lead-up to a trial, which "can often take the form of witnesses remembering new aspects of their evidence, they want to revise their statements or otherwise elaborate on things they did not remember and did not bring up at their initial interviews."

"In many cases that come into court, they all have weaknesses, they all have strengths, and sometimes this new information will bring a case that may have its weaknesses down below the threshold that we have to apply to determine whether to continue," he said.

"And, in effect, this is one of those cases."

Conflicting evidence

Dostal said the new evidence challenged the Crown's position throughout the process that D'Arcy intentionally deleted emails for the purpose of obstructing a freedom of information application, knowing the records were responsive to the request.

"When you have inconsistencies between witnesses who you all believe as credible, you are left in a position where you're not able to, in a sense, discount one version over the other," said Dostal.

"And so when you've got conflicting stories, when you've got conflicting evidence, when you have ambiguity as to what indeed had happened during what day and when, you are left in a position where there's critical elements of a case that you do not have an ability to prove beyond a reasonable doubt."

D'Arcy and Kitch resigned from their respective posts in 2017 following an internal investigation that showed Kitch expensed $47,000 in charges deemed personal to the hospital, money she would go on to repay.

D'Arcy has since gone to work for the Power Workers' Union in Ontario as the organization's chief financial officer.

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