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Oliver woman who stole from elementary school PAC gets sentencing date in court

PAC thief faces fate

The former treasurer of the Oliver Elementary School parental advisory committee, who pleaded guilty to stealing funds intended for the school, is set to be sentenced in August.

Belinda Yorke pleaded guilty to theft over $5,000 in February, 2020. She was charged in 2019 after an 18-month RCMP investigation into missing funds that the Oliver Elementary School’s PAC uses to enhance students’ experience at the school.

Yorke resigned from her position on the committee in January 2018, when committee executives reported the alleged theft of funds to the Oliver RCMP, who in turn began their extensive investigation with assistance from the PAC and the BC Gaming Policy Enforcement Branch.

Defence counsel Michael Patterson said Monday in B.C. Supreme Court in Penticton that Yorke is dropping her Charter application seeking a conditional sentence order — a non-custodial sentence served in the community, commonly referred to as house arrest — as an option for sentencing. Under the criminal code a conditional sentence is not available for those guilty of theft or fraud over $5,000.

Patterson said Monday that the later sentencing date was picked because there are possible changes coming in the form of federal legislation that would allow for greater use of conditional sentences and give judges more discretion in sentencing.

“There seems to be some movement to changes that relate, legislation, that relates to the use of CSO (conditional sentence orders),” Patterson said.

Health issues had previously delayed proceedings, with Patterson saying Yorke was in “serious ill health” in November 2020.

Yorke will appear in BC Supreme Court in Penticton on Aug. 23.



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