Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Appeal Rejected in Former Pastor's Bid for a Jury in Securities Trial

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Appeal Rejected in Former Pastor's Bid for a Jury in Securities Trial

Article excerpt

Court says no jury for accused former pastor

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MEDICINE HAT, Alta. - A former Alberta pastor has lost his appeal for a jury trial in a case that alleges he fraudulently used investor funds.

Ron Aitkens, a former pastor at Harvest Church in Medicine Hat, was charged in October 2013 with five allegations of the provincial securities laws in connection with Legacy Communities Inc.

Aitkens argued that since the charges carry a maximum jail term of five years less a day and up to $5 million in financial penalties, they should equal the five-year benchmark for jury-election eligibility set by the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

But Justices Ronald Berger and Frans Slatter of the Alberta Court of Appeal ruled the charter benchmark for a jury is plainly set out as the potential of a five-year sentence or more. …

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