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Disgraced Kelowna social worker to be tried by judge alone

Disgraced Kelowna social worker Robert Riley Saunders will be tried for various charges of fraud and theft by judge alone.
Image Credit: Global Okanagan (with permission)
February 23, 2021 - 2:46 PM

Disgraced Kelowna social worker Robert Riley Saunders will be tried for various charges of fraud and theft by judge alone.

Saunders faces 13 criminal charges including ten counts of fraud over $5,000, one count of theft over $5,000, one count of breach of trust, and one count of uttering a forged document. He was arrested on these charges in December 2020 and released on $50,000 bail later that same month.

“Yesterday Mr. Saunders appeared in Kelowna Provincial Court and made his election,” communications counsel for the BC Prosecution Service said in an email. “He elected to be tried by a Supreme Court Justice sitting without a jury.”

The matter was adjourned to allow for the identification of issues for the pre-trial conference. 

The trial date will not be set until the pre-trial issues are dealt with. The Crown aims to set the dates for the pre-trial conference at the next appearance on March 8.
 
Earlier this year, the Ministry of Children and Family Development settled a class-action lawsuit, which alleged that “Saunders defrauded many children in the care of the Ministry of their food, clothing and shelter allowances.”

According to documents filed as part of the class action settlement process, Saunders’ actions are estimated to have impacted more than 100 youth, who are mostly Indigenous.


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