Sentencing delayed for woman who stole Oliver PAC money

The former treasurer of the Oliver Elementary School parental advisory committee who pleaded guilty to stealing funds intended for the school will have to wait until September to learn her fate.

Belinda Yorke pleaded guilty to theft over $5,000 in February 2020.

Yorke was scheduled to be sentenced on Monday in B.C. Supreme Court in Penticton, but the matter was put over to Sept. 13 at 10 a.m.

No reason was given for the delay.

Yorke was charged in 2019 after an 18-month RCMP investigation into missing funds that the Oliver Elementary School’s parental advisory committee uses to enhance students’ experience at the school.

READ MORE: Former Okanagan PAC treasurer expected to plead guilty to theft

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.

In February, defence counsel Michael Patterson said that Yorke dropped 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.

Currently, under the criminal code, a conditional sentence is not available for those guilty of theft or fraud over $5,000.

Patterson previously said 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.

READ MORE: Okanagan PAC treasurer charged with fraud, theft

“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.

-With files from Dale Boyd, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Times-Chronicle

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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