Michael Elphicke, who was found guilty of major fraud and theft charges last year, leaves the Penticton Law Courts for a lunch hour break during the trial in Penticton. Dustin Godfrey/Western News

Health delays Okanagan hockey fraudster’s sentencing further

Michael Elphicke, found guilty of fraud and theft, won’t be sentenced for at least two more months

Sentencing for a man convicted of major fraud charges over a failed youth hockey trip to Europe won’t happen for at least eight more weeks, with complications surrounding his health and a pre-sentence report.

Michael Elphicke was found guilty in October of fraud and theft over $5,000 and unauthorized operation of a lottery scheme following a trial that spanned over multiple weeks in September last year, with breaks for Elphicke to attend dialysis treatments in Kelowna and occasionally in Calgary.

Since the end of the trial, Elphicke has been battling health complications resulting from diabetes and kidney failure, which have led to three amputations on his left foot so far, with an expectation that he will be undergoing another surgery later this month.

Related: Hockey fraudster won’t skate free on time-to-trial rule

Elphicke’s lawyer James Pennington appeared before the court Tuesday after deferring the matter from last Friday to get a doctor’s confirmation of the procedure set to take place on Feb. 21.

Pennington brought forward letters from a doctor at the University of Calgary who confirmed Elphicke would need the operation be done, and a doctor from another clinic in Calgary who said Elphicke would need a full month off of work after the surgery.

Elphicke’s previous employment was terminated after his guilty verdict, according to Pennington, who said the note applied more to Elphicke’s court proceedings.

“Obviously the sentencing currently scheduled for February 23 is not going to take place,” Pennington said. “I’m going to suggest at this point that the matter go to the next sitting on March 5, by which time surgery will have been about 10 days, almost two weeks, post-op surgery.”

Related: Okanagan hockey fraudster found guilty on all counts

He added Elphicke’s current contact information has been provided with the local probation office, but the office in Calgary has not yet contacted Elphicke.

Crown lawyer Patrick Fullerton said it would take about eight weeks to complete a pre-sentence report, but lawyers will return before the court on March 5 to confirm a date for the sentencing hearing.

The hearing followed a similar hearing on Friday, in which Pennington said Elphicke’s health deteriorated from his attempt to accommodate the trial while also travelling for his dialysis treatment.

“My friend is insisting on written confirmation, because like he says, Mr. Elphicke has been convicted of crimes of dishonesty, so it doesn’t matter what Mr. Elphicke tells me,” Pennington said last week.

Related: Elphicke reportedly took over $17,000 of hockey funds

Fullerton said there was more reason for requiring the written confirmation.

“In December, there was no reason, no effort by Mr. Elphicke other than he had medical circumstances for why he was not connecting with (the probation officer), and there was no follow-up,” Fullerton said.

“The Crown’s view is that this is just Mr. Elphicke’s cynical attempt to delay his sentencing that needs to happen.”


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