Why an advisor accused of fraud may escape prosecution

The judge has halted proceedings against an investment advisor and the clock is now ticking for the Crown to act

A B.C. Supreme Court judge has granted a stay of proceedings in a theft and fraud case that he says would have taken more than three years to conclude after charges were laid. A stay of proceedings means that the court has effectively stopped the case. The Crown now has up to 12 months to get the case restarted or let it fade away totally.

Justice Robert Johnston says the defence is responsible for six months of the delay, but he also blamed the Crown for what he called an unreasonably long wait for a trial date.

The case involves investment adviser Charles Dass, who was accused of defrauding three sets of complainants, including a family that invested $300,000 with him, between January 2000 to December 2007.

The first complaint against Dass was made to the RCMP in Port Alberni in March 2007 but he was not charged until June 2013.

A written ruling released Monday says Dass's trial was set to conclude in early September 2016, almost 39 months after a myriad of delays.

Johnston suggested a ``culture of complacency'' was involved in derailing the preliminary trial by nine months though he says it should have been a straightforward process.

Dass is accused of defrauding a number of families, including the Haacks and Emblems – dairy farmers on Vancouver island. Complaints filed back in 2008 with IIROC and the RCMP claimed that Dass had lived a life of luxury on his clients’ funds – buying a luxury house near Sproat Lake and driving exotic cars.

Canadian Press

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