The diocese of Brandon issued a letter informing parishioners that on March 10, the Crown withdrew charges against the Rev. Noah Njegovan.
The letter, which was read to parishioners across the diocese in churches on Sunday, March 16, explained that a withdrawal of charges is not the same as a dismissal of charges, or a stay of charges, which would have meant that the Crown does not intend to proceed. The Crown is able to withdraw the charges without losing the ability to proceed against Njegovan at a later date.
Njegovan had not entered a plea to the charges of fraud over $5,000 that he had been facing. He had been accused of allegedly using a diocesan business credit card for personal expenses in excess of $190,000 during his time as executive archdeacon of the diocese and assistant to his father, Bishop James Njegovan. The fraud allegedly took place from March 12, 2010 to September 12, 2012.
The letter from the diocese warned parishioners of some additional costs related to the case. “The Crown has informed us it wants a forensic audit before proceeding again, and we have been requested by the Brandon Police Service to select an auditor,” the letter stated. “We have begun the process of finding one and have also been informed that we will bear the cost of the audit. At this point, we do not know how much the audit will cost.”
The letter, which included a promise to keep parishioners informed of further developments, was signed by Tom Stradwick, archdeacon of the diocese; Elizabeth Sims, diocesan chancellor; and Karen Webb Johnston, diocesan registrar. Bishop Njegovan said previously when the charges were announced that he would not comment on the case because of his familial connection to the accused.