Charges dropped for Kelly Tan shortly after judicial conflict application

(Newswatch Group/Bill Kingston, File)

CORNWALL – Charges against a Cornwall man, accused to being involved in a crime rampage targeting change machines in April 2018, have been abruptly dropped.

It also appears that a conflict concerning the presiding judge was swirling around the case in the weeks leading up to the staying of the charges two weeks ago.

Kelly Tan, 49, had been facing 11 charges including robbery, break and enter and possession of break-in instruments for getting into coin operated devices.

But court records show all charges were stayed on April 24, 2019. As opposed to withdrawing charges, a staying of charges means they can be brought back to life within one year, especially if the person is charged with another crime.

In February, Tan’s defence lawyer had made an application to have another judge hear the case because the presiding judge, Diane Lahaie, had represented Tan in the past.

The trial coordinator suggested that wasn’t a problem in the past because Lahaie had heard a guilty plea from Tan and the Lahaie’s representation for Tan happened “over 20 years ago,” the application reads.

An adjournment application was to be heard before April 24.

Court records show Judge Robert Fournier heard the case on April 24 though the documents don’t say why the charges were stayed and whether the judicial conflict played a role.

A call to Tan’s legal counsel, Neil Weinstein of Weinstein Law in Ottawa, was not returned.

A co-accused in the petty theft rampage – 26-year-old Kyle Delorme – was sentenced to 10 months in jail in June 2018.