Judge strikes guilty plea and orders accused to trial
A New Victoria man was only seconds away from being placed on probation for 15 months Wednesday when a provincial court judge rejected his guilty plea and ordered he stand trial on a charge of theft.
Kenneth Allan Morrison, 38, of Kaneville Road, pleaded guilty to stealing $200 from April MacKinnon’s bank account in November 2016.
In outlining the facts of the case, prosecutor Lisa MacPhee told the court MacKinnon went to the Glace Bay Credit Union during her lunch hour on the day in question and after retrieving money from her account, left the bank to return to work.
Later in the afternoon, the credit union called and told her they were in possession of her debit card that she later claimed.
Later in the evening, MacKinnon, a mother of three, went grocery shopping and attempted to use her debit card but it was declined.
She later learned that $200 had been taken from her account.
MacKinnon went public with her story, in an interview with the Cape Breton Post, shortly after the incident and the credit union released a video image from the bank showing a male at the ATM shortly after MacKinnon.
Morrison would later turn himself in to police and was charged with theft.
MacPhee explained the card was used because it remained in the ATM ready for another transaction.
MacPhee and defence lawyer Andre Landry jointly offered the sentencing recommendation.
Landry said his client is currently receiving a disability pension and has suffered a number of health issues including undergoing liver and bone marrow transplants. Landry said his client is now awaiting a kidney transplant.
He added that Morrison has already paid $200 that Landry is holding, in trust, until the completion of the case.
Before passing sentence, Judge Ann Marie MacInnes asked the accused if he had anything to say.
“I’m still not sure I used her bank card,” said Morrison, adding he pleaded guilty in order to put the issue behind him and concentrate on his health issues.
In hearing such a comment, MacInnes said she was striking the not guilty plea and ordered the case to trial before a different judge.
Morrison is now to return to provincial court Aug. 28 to receive a trial date.