The missing money from the “Friends of Animals” Nevada ticket sales at the East End Confectionery was the result of a counting error, not some criminal impulse.
It was a fact pointed out by Neil Kabel’s lawyer, Robert Morgan, during Monday’s pre-trial hearing at which a charge of theft exceeding $5,000 against the former town councillor was withdrawn by the Crown.
“Mr. Kabel accepted responsibility for handling and retaining and non-remittance of the proceeds to ‘Friends of Animals,’” regional Crown attorney Dan Mitchell said yesterday, stating what was already on record from Monday’s pre-trial.
“[But] Mr. Kabel, prior to any charge being laid, repaid the full amount outstanding to ‘Friends of Animals,’” Mitchell added. “Mr. Kabel had always admitted he owed and did pay.
“Mr. Kabel, through his lawyer, made a voluntary donation to the Fort Frances Crime Stoppers, intended to offset the cost the investigation.
“It indicated to me Mr. Kabel was truly remorseful,” Mitchell added.
Mitchell said the Crown took the position there was reasonable grounds for the charge and that a conviction might be possible.
But he also noted the case would have had some “evidentiary difficulties” based on new information brought up by Kabel’s lawyer and police follow-up work.
“If it were to proceed to the preliminary hearing and trial, it would take some time, at some great expense to taxpayers,” Mitchell said.
Kabel would not comment when contacted yesterday.
Kabel was charged Jan. 8, 1997 after a year-long police investigation. About $25,000 went missing between November, 1992 and November, 1995 while Kabel was co-owner of the East End Confectionery.
About another $18,000 also was reported missing from the Nevada ticket sales between 1987-1992, prior to Kabel’s ownership of the store.
As yet, that money hasn’t been accounted for.
Meanwhile, Fort Frances OPP S/Sgt. Hugh Dennis said Monday’s outcome pretty much brings closure to the case.
“As far as I’m concerned, the matter is concluded,” S/Sgt. Dennis said. “The police have done the investigation and made their case to the Crown attorney.
“The Crown attorney has dealt with that from that perspective and that’s where we’re going to leave it,” he said.