Judge says former bank manager will be sentenced this fall

“The matter will come to an end,” says Franco Giamberardino

(Newswatch Group/Bill Kingston, File)

CORNWALL – After three years since a major bank fraud, a city judge has told the perpetrator to get prepared to be sentenced for her crime this fall.

During a court appearance Wednesday, Judge Franco Giamberardino sided with Crown attorney Matthew Collins to put an end to the ongoing delay of justice for 36-year-old Melissa Menzies.

Sitting in a wheelchair, wearing a foot cast and carrying a set of crutches, it’s the first time in a long time the former Bank of Montreal assistant manager has appeared in a city courtroom.

Menzies was brought into court by her mother.

“She is not completely ambulatory to the extent that she can only stand, I believe, or walk for four or five minutes and then has to rest. She advises me that the pain is still there and that she is under medical care,” her lawyer, Don Johnson, told court.

Menzies had broken her leg after falling down a flight of stairs. She required steel pins or plates and several months of rehabilitation. In December 2015, court heard she was “bed-ridden” after undergoing spinal surgery the month before.

Johnson was hoping the court would grant more time until she was “physically and emotionally able to deal with this matter” of sentencing. He believed proceeding today would not be in the best interest of justice.

Johnson also provided the court with case law on how the court should deal with Menzies and “accommodations made” should she receive a jail sentence, given her ongoing physical problems.

But the Crown didn’t agree.

“My position is, as it has been for the last number of appearances, we need to deal with this matter and we need to deal with it now. Ms. Menzies is here for the first time in, I can’t remember how long. This needs to come to a wrap,” Crown attorney Matthew Collins responded.

Judge Franco Giamberardino agreed.

“The Crown attorney makes, in a brief fashion but I certainly understand, the position that they are taking. This matter has to come to an end,” he said.

The judge then addressed Menzies directly.

“I am mindful of the information that has been provided to me. It may very well be that further information will be provided to me. But now that you’re before the court, I’m going to convey to you, the matter will come to an end. I’m going to grant you a few more months for you to do whatever it is you can to prepare yourself for what is going to be suggested to me (in terms of sentencing),” Giamberardino said.

Menzies used her position at the BMO on Pitt Street to defraud two clients of more than $180,000 over the course of a year, starting in April 2012.

She was charged in June 2013.

Sentencing arguments will likely happen during a court appearance in mid-October.

Update 5 p.m. Thursday: The court has scheduled Nov. 2, 2016 to hear the case.