by BETTER FARMING STAFF
It’s another months-long wait before a Kitchener court will tackle charges against a charismatic former pigeon breeder and businessman.
Court officials say a case concerning Arlan Galbraith has been adjourned until the end of the summer.
Galbraith, who once landed an appearance on CBC’s popular The Hour (now George Stroumboulopoulos Tonight) to promote his pigeon breeding business, Pigeon King International, was charged in December with one count of fraud over $5,000 and four counts under the Bankruptcy Act.
He is currently released on bail. His last known address is near Cochrane, Ont.
A Waterloo police services release issued at the time of Galbraith’s arrest said the fraud charge relates to allegations that the accused, then 63, defrauded individuals in Canada and the United States of monies exceeding $1 million.
Paul Williams, Galbraith’s lawyer, said he requested the delay. Williams represented Galbraith at the Wednesday scheduled court appearance in Kitchener. Galbraith did not attend.
“It’s a complicated matter,” said Sidney McLean, the assistant crown attorney who also attended the session. “Defence counsel needs time to review the disclosure of which there is a lot.”
McLean said a publication ban on evidence released during the bail hearing remains. The ban was introduced in December.
Lynn Robinson, Crown attorney, says the ban is routine and applies to the publication of the evidence taken at bail or bail release. “The reason for that is that at that stage there are allegations,” she says.
Defense asked for the ban, not the Crown attorney, she says. “We’d happily have it (the case) in every newspaper.”
The next court date is scheduled for August 24.
The Pigeon King breeding scheme offered pigeon breeding pairs for as much as $500 and bought back offspring for up to $50 each. Police estimate about 1,000 people invested a total of $20 million in the scheme, hoping for profitable returns.
Both Galbraith and his business have been declared bankrupt.
The Waterloo Regional Police Service’s fraud squad and the RCMP began a joint investigation shortly after the company’s failure in 2008, acting on allegations the operation was a Ponzi scheme.
Ponzi schemes depend on a continuing flow of money from new participants to pay off earlier investors. Such schemes are illegal under the Criminal Code, according to a January 2009 report from the Office of Superintendent of Bankruptcy.
Charges have yet to be proven in court. BF