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Today the judge at the hearing for Dorette Carter set a date for a “Judicial Pre-Trial” – it will be on February 2nd, 2015.  This is the first actual hearing after multiple adjournments.  Dorette has been charged with “two counts of fraud on the public over $5,000; two counts of theft by conversion over $5,000; three counts of draw document without authority; six counts of forgery; and three counts of utter forged document”.  Since she left the Art Gallery of Northumberland, it has been struggling to find enough cash to keep operating – many feel that Dorette was doing her best to keep the Gallery operating and to keep her job but perhaps the details will come out in the trial.

Dorette CarterWhy “perhaps”?  A “Judicial Pre-trial” is Canada’s way of plea bargaining.  Online sources explain it like this:

The judicial pre-trial is an opportunity to resolve the case before going to trial by negotiating a plea bargain.

The case will be evaluated in the judge's chambers and off the record. Accused persons are not permitted to attend. The judge will offer an opinion as to how they would rule and the likely sentence, if the case is tried as presented. The Crown at the judicial pretrial will often make their best offer for a sentence if there is a guilty plea. The judge hearing the judicial pretrial can receive the guilty plea that same day and there will be no doubt as to sentence. Judicial input sometimes assists in more realistic assessments. The judge may also influence the parties to reach a resolution agreement or realize that no resolution is possible before trial.

When a judicial pre-trial is complete and the Crown attorney has decided to proceed with prosecution, the accused faces a difficult decision, whether to go to trial or enter a guilty plea

If Dorette agrees to a guilty plea, she would avoid an expensive and public trial and probably receive a lesser sentence.  Although plea bargaining is not witnessed by the public, the decisions from it would be announced the same day.

Update - July 21, 2015

Radio News 107.9 The Breeze (Greg McCullough) reports that once again the pre-trial was adjourned.  The new date is August 31st, 2015.

Update August 31, 2015

Northumberland 89.7 Radio News reports that:

The criminal judicial pretrial of Dorette Carter has been adjourned once again. The proceeding is now due to take place on November 23, 2015.

This makes it 16 months from being charged to the pre-trial.

More - Dorette Carter Charged.

Update December 21, 2015

Northumberland 87.9 Radio News reported today that Dorette Carter entered guilty pleas 3 of 14 charges laid against her.

The report said:

Former Art Gallery of Northumberland Curator Dorette Carter pleaded guilty to 3 of 14 counts she faced this afternoon in the Ontario Court of Justice in Cobourg.

Carter admitted to conducting a fraudulent fundraising scheme seeking donations to purchase art work already in the Gallery's possession. Instead, the $20,000 raised was turned over to Art in Public Spaces, a separate organization Carter chaired.

She also admitted to writing cheques with forged signatures.

Crown Attorney David Thompson confirmed that Carter received no personal financial benefit from the fraudulent transactions.

Mr. Justice Robert Benninger ordered a Pre-Sentence Report and remanded the matter to February 29, 2016 for sentencing.

Thanks to 89.7's John Hill for this.




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