Women in court
Evidence was heard on fraud, theft and breach of trust charges facing former Dene Nation employees

Yellowknife (May 03/00) - Two Yellowknife women were in territorial court Tuesday for a preliminary hearing on charges of fraud, theft and breach of trust charges.

The hearing was for Helen Margaret Edjericon and Ethel Liske, two former employees of the Dene Nation.

Both were charged last August after $90,000 was found missing following an audit of the office's books.

The hearing lasted three-and-a-half hours and will continue on Friday after two more witnesses, Grand Chief of the Dene Nation Bill Erasmus and a bank manager are called to testify.

Edjericon appeared periodically restless and agitated while Liske seemed calm as they sat beside their separate defence lawyers.

Crown counsel Mark Scrivens called Yellowknife RCMP Const. Jason Doucet to the stand to introduce evidence vital to the Crown's case. Counsel for Liske, Robert Gorin, argued that the Crown did not give defence sufficient notice and therefore the evidence should be inadmissible, but after discussion Judge Robert Bourassa allowed it.

"I think the Crown would be pretty hard pressed to make a case," Bourassa said.

"Defence is not being prejudiced or caught by surprise."

Edjericon testified during the hearing as well as chartered accountant Michael Odell. Odell, who completed audits for the Dene Nation from 1980 to 1988 and from 1993 to present, testified for close to an hour.

None of the evidence submitted to the court can be reported due to a publication ban.

Neither parties are required to enter pleas in relation to an indictable offence unless the issue goes to trial.

The preliminary hearing will determine if there is enough evidence to warrant a trial.