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

Pinettes bring home hardware from waterski nationals

“It should be a really nice experience, and I’m excited to hopefully get some PBs there, too.”

RANCH MUSINGS: No till pasture rejuvenation and silvopasture trials: up-coming event

You can read about on farm research but seeing it and discussing it with others is a much better way

International students get history lesson at Little Red Schoolhouse

The Little Red Schoolhouse at 150 Mile House hosted six students from Matsuyama, Japan

VIDEO: Canadian zoos’ captive breeding programs help preserve endangered species

Programs considered last-ditch effort to prevent local extinctions of turtles, butterflies and more

B.C. log export rules killing us, northwest harvester says

NorthPac Forestry says Skeena Sawmills has plenty of timber

Vancouver man arrested after pregnant woman’s SUV stolen, then crashed

Police are recommending charges against a 22-year-old Vancouver man

Environment groups warned saying climate change is real could be seen as partisan

Talk of climate change could be viewed as advocating against Maxime Bernier, the leader of the People’s Party of Canada

Search crews find 4-year-old boy who went missing near Mackenzie

George went missing early Saturday afternoon

15-year-old boy drowns after midnight jump into Okanagan Lake

The RCMP and BC Coroners Service are investigating the drowning.

Canadian entrepreneurs turning beer byproduct into bread, cookies and profits

Some breweries turn to entrepreneurs looking to turn spent grain into treats for people and their pets

Most Read