Lawyers

Preliminary inquiry for disbarred lawyer accused of fraud pushed to 2022 | CBC Information

The preliminary inquiry for a disbarred lawyer and former senior provincial government civil servant accused of fraud has been delayed 10 months.

Yassin Choukri faces eight fraud charges and is accused of stealing a total of $486,148 involving eight clients.

Choukri appeared in Moncton provincial court on Friday morning. Defence lawyer Gilles Lemieux requested the preliminary inquiry scheduled for May 18 and 19 be moved back. 

Judge Brigitte Volpé rescheduled the hearing to March 14 and 15, 2022.

Lemieux said he has another case in the Court of Queen’s Bench that conflicted with the May dates.

A preliminary inquiry is a process where a judge determines whether there is sufficient evidence to proceed to trial.

Crown prosecutor Vicky Doucette told reporters after the appearance she was disappointed with the delay. 

Doucette works for the Nova Scotia Crown prosecution service in Amherst and was brought in to handle the case because of Choukri’s former position as administrative head of New Brunswick’s public prosecution service.

Choukri served as deputy attorney general from 2003 to 2006 under then-premier Bernard Lord. They were once law partners.

The Progressive Conservative government of David Alward made him public intervener at the Energy and Utilities Board in 2010.

In 2016, he abandoned his legal practice and disappeared.

 In 2017, Choukri was disbarred by the Law Society of New Brunswick after a hearing found he’d misappropriated funds from 10 clients totalling more than $720,000, figures higher than what he was later charged with. 

The law society tracked him to an an apartment in Mississauga, Ont., and served him a pair of notices and handed over its evidence against Choukri to the Fredericton Police Force. 

Charges were laid in 2020 and a Canada-wide warrant issued for his arrest. Peel Regional Police arrested him in Ontario in August 2020 and he was returned to New Brunswick to face the charges. 

In January this year, Choukri elected to be tried by judge and jury and scheduled the preliminary inquiry that’s now been moved to 2022.

Choukri remains free on bail.

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