Justice via Facetime

The defendant in a high-profile fraud case in Penticton may have to learn his fate from a hospital bed in Calgary after losing part of his foot to an amputation.

A decision in the Michael Elphicke case was delayed earlier this week after he fell seriously ill and was admitted to Foothills Hospital in Calgary with a foot infection.

“They have amputated a portion of his left foot, that comprises of the toes and the ball of his foot,” defence lawyer James Pennington said during a conference call Thursday.

“The doctors are feeling fairly confident that they have stopped the infection,” he added, noting his client will likely need at least one more surgery and rehabilitation time, preventing him to get to Penticton to receive judgment.

Elphicke is facing charges of fraud and theft over $5,000 and unauthorized management of a lottery scheme in connection to the business dealings of the defunct Okanagan Elite Hockey Association. A two-and-a-half week trial wrapped at the end of September.

During that trial, the court heard that Elphicke is suffering from diabetes and kidney failure. 

Crown prosecutor Patrick Fullerton suggested using video conferencing to allow Elphicke to appear in Penticton from Calgary.

“People rely on Facetime and other computer applications to connect themselves to one another over great distances all the time” he said.

“I have heard of Facetime, that’s as far as my familiarity goes with it,” Pennington said, adding he would have to look into the logistics of the whole thing.

The lawyers and judge will reconvene next week to see if the Facetime plan is feasible.

The decision is scheduled to be handed down on Oct. 26 and 27, when the defence will also argue for a dismissal of charges due to the unreasonably lengthy time it took to get the matter to trial.

Elphicke's co-accused, Loren Reagan, remains wanted on a Canada-wide arrest warrant for missing the start of the trial. He is currently in Kuwait dealing with passport issues.

He told Castanet News Tuesday he expects to return on Oct. 30.

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