A preliminary hearing is testing the evidence in the case of a London priest charged with defrauding more than 20 people of money meant for refugees.
Father Amer Saka, 52, is on bail and was in London court Monday as the lengthy hearing continued. Ontario Court Justice Allan Maclure has heard a week of evidence and proceedings are expected to last all week and beyond.
A preliminary hearing determines whether there is enough evidence for the case to continue to trial in a higher court.
There is a publication ban on evidence presented at the hearing.
Saka is represented by Toronto lawyer Iryna Revutsky.
Saka was charged in July 2016. He had been suspended from his duties at St. Joseph’s Chaldean Catholic Church and the Mar Ouraha parish in Kitchener since March 2016.
There had been reports that more than $500,000 had gone missing from a refugee trust fund that involved money from 20 people.
There also had been reports that the money was gambled away.
London’s Chaldean Catholic community is a small congregation made up of first-generation immigrants, many of them from Iraq, Syria and Turkey.
The Roman Catholic Diocese of Hamilton, which oversaw the refugee sponsorship program, made a promise to follow through on any sponsorships days after the scandal broke.