Charges considered for B.C. MLA’s former constituency assistant

Unnamed person accused of misappropriating funds from John Martin’s office in Chilliwack

Nearly two years after Chilliwack MLA John Martin fired his constituency assistant for alleged thefts, the B.C. Prosecution Service (BCPS) announced a Special Prosecutor has been on the file all along, and the charge assessment process is now underway.

Back on March 2, 2017, Martin addressed reporters at the B.C. legislature to say that while implementing a new system in his office, he became aware that “money from my constituency account may have been inappropriately used.”

Martin was visibly upset as he announced the termination of his constituency assistant, a long-time employee.

• READ MORE: Chilliwack MLA John Martin’s constituency assistant fired after admitting to misappropriating money

Martin said the employee admitted he had misappropriated the funds.

“That person’s employment has been terminated,” he said.

Asked Thursday to comment on the announcement, Martin apologized but said that he had to decline any and all media inquiries at this time.

In a press release issued on Jan. 31, the BCPS announced that Robin McFee, QC, was appointed Special Prosecutor on March 20, 2017 by Acting Assistant Deputy Attorney General John Labossiere.

“Robin McFee QC was appointed Special Prosecutor when the RCMP requested that a Special Prosecutor be appointed for the purpose of providing legal advice during the investigation and any resulting prosecution,” the release stated. “Mr. Labossiere made the appointment under section 7 of the Crown Counsel Act because he considered it in the public interest to do so. The appointment of a Special Prosecutor is intended to avoid any potential for real or perceived improper influence in the administration of justice.”

McFee’s mandate was to provide legal advice to the RCMP investigators, conduct any related charge assessment, and assume conduct of the prosecution if charges were approved.

The charge assessment process is now underway.

It was not explained why it took so long to announce McFee’s appointment, just that it was postponed pending completion of the investigation and submission to Crown counsel.

“Following consultation with the Special Prosecutor, and taking into account the specific circumstances of the case, the BCPS concluded that issuing a media statement announcing the appointment was appropriate at this time.”

The constituency assistant who was terminated has not yet been named, although The Progress has been aware of who is under investigation from the start. His Twitter and Facebook profiles went dark immediately after Martin’s announcement, although he has since returned to social media and is active in the community.

McFee’s name will be familiar to some Chilliwack residents as he was the Crown counsel appointed special prosecutor to investigate former mayor and former solicitor general John Les.

McFee found no evidence that Les made improper land deals during his time at city hall, but McFee did charge former city planner Grant Sanborn with breach of trust in 2012. Sanborn pleaded not guilty to that, but guilty to a lesser, non-criminal charge.

• READ MORE: Former city planner Grant Sanborn pleads guilty to ‘regulatory offences’


@PeeJayAitch
paul.henderson@theprogress.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

RCMP urges community to report crimes as theft from vehicles continues

Ladysmith RCMP confirmed a group of teens were seen trying to break into a vehicle on Thetis drive

UPDATE: Nanaimo-Vancouver ferry sets sail again after delay

B.C. Ferries says Queen of Oak Bay was held in dock earlier due to staffing issues

Graveyard shift being axed at Chemainus sawmill

Western Forest Products move comes on the heels of current union contract’s expiration

LRCA low-income housing project ‘months away’ from on-site work

The project will provide 36 units for three main groups: seniors, families, and disabled people

Three students double recipients of major awards at Chemainus Secondary

Pachet, Ngenda and Simpson the school’s biggest honourees

VIDEO: First Nations, developer call for return and protection of sacred B.C. burial site

Dozens of First Nations leaders gather on grassy plateau to call on action by provincial government

LETTER: British Columbia’s forest industry crisis being made worse

Andrew Wilkinson warns of regulatory overload by John Horgan’s NDP

Convicted B.C. child abductor Randall Hopley back in custody 6 months after release

Correctional Services Canada could not provide further details due to privacy concerns

Bears have killed 17 people in B.C. since 1986

Number of bear complaints and bears killed rose sharply during same period

Three Albertans land ‘monster’ sturgeon in B.C.’s Fraser River

For angler who landed the exceptionally large sturgeon it was an ‘incredible dream come true’

Victoria man wins record-breaking Human Rights Tribunal case

After 14 years Chris Hughes won a case after facing discrimination for depression

Toronto Raptors and their diverse team celebrated worldwide

Team is made up of players from the U.S., Canada, Cameroon, the Republic of Congo, and Spain

B.C. RCMP launches pilot to test reporting non-serious crimes online

Four cities will soon be able to report theft under $5,000, lost of stolen items to police online

Nanaimo-Ladysmith district school students kept indoors due to bear sighting

B.C. Conservation en route to Coal Tyee school, says Nanaimo school district

Most Read