06/14/2012 12:41 EDT | Updated 08/14/2012 05:12 EDT

Nova Scotia politician's hearing on expense charges underway in Halifax

HALIFAX - A preliminary inquiry for a Nova Scotia politician facing fraud-related offences in the province's spending scandal is underway in Halifax.

Trevor Zinck is accused of theft over $5,000, fraud over $5,000 and breach of trust.

Evidence from the hearing is banned from publication to protect his right to a fair trial.

The Independent member is one of four Nova Scotia politicians charged in February 2011 following an investigation into constituency allowance spending.

In April, former Liberal Dave Wilson was sentenced to nine months in jail for defrauding the public purse of $61,000 to feed a gambling addiction.

Former Tory cabinet minister Richard Hurlburt will be sentenced next month after he pleaded guilty to fraud and breach of trust.

Russell MacKinnon, a former Nova Scotia Liberal cabinet minister, has pleaded not guilty to fraud, breach of trust and uttering forged documents.

His trial is set to begin next March.