Work Permit Board assistant secretary starts new trial on Feb. 2

The trial of Tichina Rickfield, which began on Monday, was aborted on Wednesday because of a juror becoming ill.

Justice Charles Quin discharged the jurors and confirmed a new trial date of Feb. 2. The defendant’s bail was continued until then.

The defendant, formerly known as Sunshine McLaughlin, is charged with misconduct in a public office and making documents without authority. The charges relate to a period between January 2009 and January 2010, when she worked as assistant secretary to the Work Permit Board.

The jury of four women and three men began hearing evidence on Monday, when Chief Immigration Officer Linda Evans was the first witness called by Crown counsel Toyin Salako.

On Tuesday, one of the jurors notified the clerk that he was ill and seeking medical attention. Two juror alternates originally selected before Christmas were released when the trial started.

After receiving word about the ill juror, Ms. Salako and defense attorney Fiona Robertson met with Justice Quin.

The other six jurors reported on Wednesday morning and the judge advised them that the juror who had been taken ill was unable to attend. He noted that the Crown had called just one witness, whose evidence was not complete.

Although the law allows a trial to continue with six jurors, the defendant wanted and was entitled to seven, the judge pointed out. He noted that the case was complex and involved a number of documents.

The court was sympathetic and the Crown was neutral, he added.

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