Robert Riley Saunders’ next court appearance has been adjourned to Feb. 11 where he is expected to enter a plea and choose which court he’d like to be tried in — Provincial Court or Supreme Court.
Saunders is alleged to have stolen basic living allowances from more than 100 — mostly Indigenous — youth while he was employed by B.C.’s Ministry of Children and Family Development as a social worker in Kelowna between 1996 and 2018.
He’s facing 13 criminal charges, including ten counts of fraud over $5,000, one count of theft over $5,000, one count of breach of trust, and one count of uttering a forged document.
According to documents disclosed in a separate legal matter, which was settled in October 2020, Saunders allegedly faked credentials on his résumé in order to get hired by MCFD as a social worker.
Saunders was released on bail on Dec. 18 by B.C. Provincial Court judge Monica McParland.
A lawyer acting on his behalf participated at Jan. 25 hearing via video conference. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, members of the public and media aren’t able to observe the hearing from inside an actual courtroom. Instead, people can attend virtual proceedings remotely via MS teams.