The case of Champion House, charged with failing to make pension contributions for employees, was adjourned again on Monday after counsel updated the court on progress, or lack thereof.
The company has been in court since 2008 on charges relating to pension payments amounting to $177,000 on behalf of 32 employees between 1999 and 2008. Guilty pleas have been entered.
At a hearing last month, Magistrate Valdis Foldats had asked if company assets should be sold to repay employees. Both Crown counsel Greg Walcolm and defense attorney Graham Hampson agreed that an assessment should be undertaken. Mr. Walcolm advised that he had spoken with officers of the Financial Crime Unit, who were willing to assist with an appraisal of company property.
On Monday, however, Mr. Walcolm said he had received further communication from the Financial Crime Unit.
“They are unable to do it,” he explained, because they were short-staffed and it would be “too burdensome to take this matter on.”
The magistrate asked if he had the power to order the company to produce financial statements. In the absence of any such power, he wondered what might be done.
He shared an earlier experience regarding a non-criminal matter. In the absence of a financial disclosure statement, the court could make an inference regarding an individual’s ability to pay, he said.
Mr. Hampson agreed. He said if he were representing a person, he would be giving the court all the information he had in mitigation. In this case, he thought it would be helpful to have a certificate of an accountant regarding the status of the company.
The magistrate adjourned the matter until Nov. 15, on the basis that such a certificate would be pursued.