A defence lawyer for a well-known woman charged with fraud by abuse of her position at a dog welfare charity has told a court discussions are ongoing with prosecutors to establish the exact amount of money involved.
Barrister Stephen Law was speaking at Ballymena Magistrates Court today regarding Adrianne Peltz (34), of Beatrice Road, Bangor, County Down, who is accused of using a company credit card for personal expenditures.
The charge relates to dates between April 10 and October 12 in 2017.
The full charge reads: ‘Defendant on dates between the 10th day of April 2017 and the 12th day of October 2017 whilst occupying a position in which you were expected to safeguard, or not to act against, the financial interests of Dogs Trust, dishonestly abused that position in that you used a company credit card for personal expenditures with the intention, by means of the abuse of that position to make a gain for yourself or another or to cause loss to Dogs Trust or to expose Dogs Trust to a risk of a loss, in breach of section 4 of the Fraud Act 2006, contrary to Section 1 of the Fraud Act 2006’.
The defendant has yet to formally enter a guilty or not guilty plea.
Previous press statements from the Dogs Trust said Ms Peltz was the charity’s Campaigns Manager for Northern Ireland.
The defendant was not present in the courtroom but was said to be in the building at Ballymena Magistrates Court on Thursday.
Defence barrister Stephen Law told a previous court it was an “alleged breach of trust case”.
Also in July he had said there was a an issue regarding the amount of money involved about which he would write to the Public Prosecution Service.
At Thursday’s court, Mr Law said discussions were continuing with prosecutors to agree a value for the money which had been “misappropriated”.
The amount of money involved involved has not been mentioned in court.
The lawyer said the case was not going to “trouble the court”.
He asked for the matter to be adjourned to later in the month for the defendant to be “put on her plea”.
Adrianne Peltz has a high media profile in Northern Ireland.
She has been a spokeswoman for Amnesty International in NI and is currently pictured on the Victim Support NI website as being on its board of trustees.
She is originally from South Africa but has lived in Northern Ireland for a number of years and her other leading roles included the student union sector.
She has also frequently been a media commentator.
The Dogs Trust is the UK’s largest dog welfare charity and cares for over 15,000 dogs each year through a network of 20 rehoming centres in the UK including one in Ballymena.
Following the previous court date in July, at which Ms Peltz was not present, a Dogs Trust spokesperson said in a statement: “Dogs Trust relies on the enormous generosity of the public to continue caring for over 15,000 dogs every year. It is of paramount importance to us that we use our funds in the best way possible so the public has confidence that their donations are being spent wisely.
“We can confirm that following an internal investigation we referred a case to the police following financial discrepancies relating to a company credit card used by one of our former employees. The employee had left our employment by the time we discovered the financial discrepancies. As this is an ongoing police investigation we cannot comment further.”