The former chief executive officer of the IWK Health Centre has elected to be tried in Halifax provincial court on fraud-related charges.
Tracy Leanne Kitch, 58, of Oakville, Ont., is charged with fraud over $5,000 and breach of trust.
Lawyer Joel Pink appeared in provincial court Tuesday for Kitch, who was not present.
Pink is expected to enter pleas of not guilty on behalf of his client when the case returns to court July 2 to set dates for a trial.
Pink and Crown attorney Peter Dostal told the court that three to four weeks of court time will be needed for the hearing.
Kitch stepped down as president and CEO of the Halifax hospital in August 2017 after an independent audit discovered she had used a corporate credit card for tens of thousands of dollars in “potentially personal” expenses.
Stephen D’Arcy resigned as the IWK’s chief financial officer in September 2017 after the hospital’s board of directors filed a complaint of financial mismanagement with police.
Last October, police announced they had laid charges against both former executives.
Outside court Tuesday, Dostal told reporters there’s been no sign that Kitch wishes to resolve the matter with a guilty plea.
“We’ve had an indication from defence counsel that … Ms. Kitch wishes to have a trial, so we’re fully anticipating going to trial as planned,” the prosecutor said.
“She has a right to a trial and she is going to get one.”
Dostal said the Crown expects to call testimony from 25 to 35 witnesses and go through “a fair amount of documents” at trial.
“As the public is well aware from the Grant Thornton review, there was quite a thorough review of the expenses over a period of about three or four years,” the prosecutor said. “Much of that material may be at issue throughout the course of the trial.
“Any time you go through this level of detail in materials and events over such a period of time, you’re usually looking at more than a few weeks (for trial).”
Asked if any present or past members of the IWK’s board of directors will be testifying, Dostal replied: “Certain individuals on the board were interviewed (by police). Whether they’re ultimately called is something we’ll likely be at liberty to talk about closer to trial.”
He said the Crown is “very mindful” of the possibility it could be quite a while before a judge hears the case.
“The Crown, court and defence all have an obligation to ensure that matters move forward swiftly,” Dostal said.
“We’re hopeful that we can get early dates, but this may be a longer process than a short one.”
D’Arcy, 57, of Toronto, is accused of breach of trust, unauthorized use of a computer and mischief to data. His lawyer has yet to announce whether he wants to be tried in provincial court or Nova Scotia Supreme Court.
D’Arcy’s charges are also due back in provincial court July 2, when dates will be set for a preliminary inquiry or a trial, depending on his election.