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Von Pfahlenburg-Marienburg in jail

Tax trial delayed

Von Pfahlenburg-Marienburg (seen here at a 2007 Pride Society meeting) was jailed on Nov 2 for contempt of court. Credit: Matt Mills photo

The late-November trial date of a former Vancouver Pride Society treasurer facing income tax charges remains uncertain because the accused in is jail for contempt of court.

Auguste Christiane von Pfahlenburg-Marienburg is facing six charges that he was involved in understating the taxable incomes of 235 clients to a total of almost $782,091.

The counts were laid under the federal Income Tax Act.

The tax trial was to begin on Nov 29 but von Pfahlenburg-Marienburg was sentenced by BC Supreme Court Justice Shelley Fitzpatrick to 30 days in jail on Nov 2 after being found guilty of breaching a court order.

The breach involved a 2006 order preventing von Pfahlenburg-Marienburg from representing himself as a lawyer, a member of the Law Society of BC or a practitioner of foreign law.

He is serving time at the Fraser Regional Correctional Centre.

Instead of coming in the main courtroom door on Nov 16, von Pfahlenburg-Marienburg came in through the prisoners’ dock clad in orange prison fatigues. He was unshaven and wore no shoes.

Duty lawyer Harry Stevenson told Provincial Court Judge Jodie Werier that due to his current incarceration, von Pfahlenburg-Marienburg cannot adequately prepare himself for the tax trial in which he is representing himself.

Stevenson told Werier that von Pfahlenburg-Marienburg cannot afford a lawyer.

He is due to be released on Dec 2. The court agreed to return to the case on Nov 22 to find out when von Pfahlenburg-Marienburg’s release will be firmed up so new trial dates can be discussed.

“Von Pfahlenburg is alleged to have lied in various people’s tax returns,” senior federal Crown prosecutor Dan Meneley told Werier on Sept 17.

Von Pfahlenburg-Marienburg did agree on Nov 16 to a number of admissions in the tax case, which would shorten the witness list that was originally set at 26 people.

The admission documents — dealing mainly with how the evidence was handled — were passed to him through a slot in the Perspex wall of the prisoner’s box along with a pen, and he signed them.

The court also heard the trial could take three to four weeks — significantly longer than the seven days von Pfahlenburg-Marienburg originally thought the trial would last.

On Nov 16, Meneley told Werier that von Pfahlenburg-Marienburg received 10 bankers’ boxes of documents in March. He said the Crown was willing to accommodate von Pfahlenburg-Marienburg and scan the documents and deliver them to the jail.