A judge has dismissed a theft charge against a former councillor of North West River, even though Timothy Blake had once confessed to police that he stole money from the town.
Blake, who was accused of stealing more than $70,000 from the town of North West River, testified in court that he had lied when he told police he took money from the town.
His former wife, Holly Flowers, was sentenced in July 2019 to four months in jail for her part in stealing money from the town, where she had formerly worked as town clerk. Money went missing between January 2014 and April 2016.
Blake was charged after RCMP officers travelled to Rigolet to interview Flowers, who by that time was working with the local Inuit government.
Blake went to the police in June 2018 and confessed to the theft. He told investigators that he was on drugs and had no money, and that for part of the 10 months that he was on town council, he would steal money from the building to pay for drugs.
Blake told police that he had learned from news accounts that he stole over $70,000 and was surprised to learn that the number was so high, as he hadn't been keeping track of amounts.
But in court, Blake contradicted his June 2018 statement, and said the confession was an attempt to protect Flowers.
During his testimony, Blake said that he had lied to the police, that he didn't know where any of the money had gone and that he didn't spend it.
Blake claimed that he was trying to protect his wife and children, and said although he was mad at this wife, he didn't want to see her go to jail. Flowers was not aware that he was going to confess, according to Blake.
Provincial court judge Rolf Pritchard dismissed the charge against Blake, noting that the only direct evidence against Blake was his original statement.
'I can't say with certainty that Mr. Blake was not involved in this in some fashion, but absent his confession, I don't view the evidence as proving his guilt beyond a reasonable doubt," Pritchard wrote.
In his decision, delivered in Happy Valley-Goose Bay on May 11, Pritchard said that there were parts of Blake's statement that the RCMP officer who took it "frankly did not believe."
Later in 2018, Blake learned that Flowers was leaving him for someone else.
Blake told the court that was then he decided he would tell the truth.
Flowers testified against Blake during his trial, claiming that Blake would take cash from a drawer several times a week while she present.
Pritchard described her evidence as "clearly self-serving" and that its purpose was to minimize her involvement while further implicating Blake.