Crown closes case against former IWK CEO

·2 min read
Tracy Kitch, centre, the former chief executive of the IWK Health Centre, a children's hospital, heads from provincial court during a break in Halifax on Monday, Nov. 8, 2021. Kitch is charged with breach of trust and fraud over $5,000 related an investigation into her expenses while she was the senior executive of the facility. (Andrew Vaughan/The Canadian Press - image credit)
Tracy Kitch, centre, the former chief executive of the IWK Health Centre, a children's hospital, heads from provincial court during a break in Halifax on Monday, Nov. 8, 2021. Kitch is charged with breach of trust and fraud over $5,000 related an investigation into her expenses while she was the senior executive of the facility. (Andrew Vaughan/The Canadian Press - image credit)

Testimony in the fraud trial of the former IWK Health Centre CEO wrapped Thursday in Halifax provincial court without the defence calling any witnesses.

Tracy Kitch faces charges of breach of trust and fraud over $5,000 stemming from an investigation into her expenses. The board of the children's hospital ordered a deeper dive into the matter in 2017 after CBC News revealed discrepancies in Kitch's expenses.

The report, produced by Grant Thornton, concluded that $47,000 in expenses charged to the hospital had been deemed by auditors as "potentially personal," though all the funds were repaid not long after Kitch stepped down that summer.

Throughout the trial, the court heard from current and former staff and board members of the IWK, all of whom testified Kitch never explicitly lied in her expense claims.

Forensic accountant testifies

On Wednesday, the court heard testimony from the Crown's final witness, Alex Nunez, a forensic accountant brought in at the request of police to write a report outlining Kitch's spending.

On Thursday, Crown attorney Peter Dostal asked Nunez to reiterate his mandate. Nunez said it did not include reviewing any potential reimbursements from Kitch, nor did it include reviewing internal IWK policy and whether Kitch's expenses and use of her corporate credit card were in line with those policies.

The only remaining witnesses the Crown had expected to call were people who could authenticate documents entered as evidence, such as emails and online calendars linked to Kitch's account. The Crown and defence agreed to enter those items without calling on the witnesses to authenticate them.

"We're really pleased with the co-operation and performance of all the witnesses," Dostal said outside the courtroom, adding the case is in "good hands" with Judge Paul Scovil, who will make the final determination.

Defence calls no witnesses, evidence

The defense announced Thursday it would not be calling any witnesses or evidence.

Kitch's lawyer, Jacqueline King, told CBC News the fact she isn't calling evidence reflects what was missing from the testimony of any of the Crown witnesses.

"There wasn't a single witness that said Ms. Kitch falsified information, lied or any of the elements that would make up a fraud," she said in an interview.

King said it's clear from the evidence that Kitch notified hospital personnel of personal expenses throughout her time at the helm of the children's hospital in Halifax.

Closing arguments are expected in early December, said King.

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