Trial be­gins for Is­land pas­tor, oth­ers ac­cused of de­fraud­ing On­tario se­nior

Journal Pioneer - - FRONT PAGE - BY JEFF MITCHELL

Jury selec­tion has be­gun for three peo­ple, in­clud­ing a for­mer Pres­by­te­rian min­is­ter, ac­cused of frauds that tar­geted an el­derly Oshawa wi­dow and a north Durham an­i­mal res­cue op­er­a­tion. Harold Alan Ste­wart pleaded not guilty Mon­day, Sept. 10, to sev­eral fraud-re­lated charges. He along with Ash­ley Carl­son and Alexsander Budimirovic, both of Oshawa, are ac­cused of de­fraud­ing the woman be­tween 2015 and 2016. Carl­son and Budimirovic also pleaded not guilty dur­ing Mon­day’s ar­raign­ment. Af­ter an in­ves­ti­ga­tion that con­cluded in late 2016, Durham po­lice said the ac­cused had bilked the se­nior, who was 89 at the time, of more than $100,000 through credit card and mort­gage fraud. Budimirovic is also ac­cused of at­tempt­ing to de­fraud the Story Book Farm Pri­mate Sanc­tu­ary in Brock Town­ship, ac­cord­ing to the in­dict­ment read in court Mon­day. Ste­wart, now 70, was pas­tor of a church in Prince Ed­ward Is­land at the time of his ar­rest, ac­cord­ing to Durham po­lice. Jury selec­tion be­gan Mon­day. The trial is ex­pected to last three weeks.

RON PIETRONIRO/METROLAND

Harold Alan Ste­wart ar­rived at the Oshawa, Ont., court­house for the start of his trial Mon­day.

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