MILTON, ON, Sept. 12, 2018 /CNW/ - Today, the Crown Attorney's Office announced at the Ontario Court of Justice in Milton that it was withdrawing fraud charges against His Grace, Bishop Georgije Djokic. The Crown said it was not proceeding with the charges because there was "no reasonable prospect of conviction".
Bishop Georgije was the Bishop of the Serbian Orthodox Diocese of Canada from October, 1984 until May, 2015. In those years, under his stewardship, the Diocese flourished, growing, from 8 to 36 churches across Canada, and establishing the first Serbian monastery and cemetery in Milton. As a result of allegations made by some church members, he was charged with fraud. It was alleged that he had diverted profits from a candle-making business to a personal friend. Bishop Georgije has always denied the charges and has vigorously defended himself in court, where he was represented by Nader Hasan and Stephen Aylward, of Stockwoods LLP.
"The Crown made the right decision today. The allegations against Bishop Georgije are and always were baseless. His Grace has been a devoted servant of God and the Serbian Orthodox Church for his entire life. The notion that he would steal from the Diocese is ludicrous. This matter should never have been before the courts. We are pleased that the Crown has recognized that there is no reasonable prospect of conviction," said Nader Hasan, one of Bishop Georgije's lawyers.
Bishop Georgije's supporters welcomed the Crown's decision. "His Grace has given his life to the service of the Serbian Orthodox Church in Canada. He is a man of integrity and has always sought to act in the best interests of the Church." says Francoise Arsic, a former Vice-President of the Diocese and long serving Board member.
Bishop Georgije, now retired, looks forward to putting this matter behind him. He intends to devote his energies to serving God and the Church, and to healing the rift within the Serbian Orthodox community in Canada. "This matter has taken a tremendous toll on my friends and me," said Bishop Georgije. "I thank all of my friends for their unwavering support through these difficult times."
SOURCE Stockwoods LLP