Welfare fraud trial begins

(Newswatch Group/Bill Kingston, File)

CORNWALL — A trial for a city woman accused of welfare fraud is taking a brief break Monday morning.

The prosecution and defence are going through a mountain of paperwork and aligning their evidence in order to expedite the testimony of witnesses.

The two sides decided to do it on the suggestion of Judge Deborah Kinsella, considering there are approximately 20-30 pieces of evidence.

Kaila Warwick, 26, is facing five charges, including two counts of fraud and two counts of uttering forged documents.

She was charged in August 2015 and again in January 2016 for allegations dating back to 2013.

Court has heard the uttering forged document allegations relate to an employment agreement and a “list of items to start employment” and a Cornwall janitorial company.

She has plead not guilty to all charges during her arraignment this morning.

She is being represented by defence lawyer William Webber.

While the two fraud charges are several years apart, they are being tried together because there is a “factual nexus” between the two cases, Webber explained.

Warwick is a slender woman with shoulder-length dark red hair and is wearing a black jacket, dark purple shirt, black skirt, black leggings and black boots. She has spent most of the morning sitting next to her lawyer with her hands clasped under the defence table, listening to the proceedings.

Kendra Lalonde, an eligibility review officer who has been with the City of Cornwall’s social services (Ontario Works) department for 23 years, is the first witness for the prosecution.

The trial is scheduled for today and tomorrow.

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