Williams Lake city councillor Surinderpal Rathor has been charged with obstruction of justice, police said.
The news broke Thursday when Const. Lesley Smith, media relations with North District RCMP, issued a press release stating Rathor was arrested that morning after a warrant was issued.
“These charges stem from an investigation where on Dec. 24, 2012, Surinderpal Rathor assisted police as a translator for a criminal code case. Rathor allegedly interfered with that investigation beyond his role as a translator,” Smith said, refusing to comment further on the case.
On Thursday afternoon, Rathor told the Tribune/Weekend Advisor he and his wife are very “disturbed and shocked” by the day’s incidents.
“We are taking the whole investigation very seriously,” Rathor said. “I can’t make any more statements because the matter is before the courts.”
Rathor said as a Canadian he has full faith in the justice system.
“I am 100 per cent sure that justice will prevail.”
Rathor said he was arrested at his home shortly before 9 a.m. and was taken to the RCMP detachment. After an interview with police he was released from police custody with a promise to appear in Williams Lake provincial court on Oct. 2.
Rathor is currently serving his seventh term on city council and last year was awarded the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee medal for his community service. In 1992 Surinderpal was nominated for Citizen of the Year and in 2009 he was nominated for Newsmaker of the Year by the Williams Lake Chamber of Commerce.
Mayor Kerry Cook said she first learned of the arrest when she arrived at city hall Thursday morning and was informed by the city’s chief executive officer, Darrell Garceau.
“I just got off the phone with Surinder,” Cook said later that afternoon, adding there is nothing in the community charter prohibiting Rathor from being an elected official of the city of Williams Lake. “It’s clearly communicated in the community charter.”
“As a city we are going to be respectful of the process and respectful of the individual involved as we move forward.”
Rathor said everyone is innocent until proven guilty and he has full intention to continue serving as he has in the past.
This is the first time a city councillor has been arrested while Cook has served on council.
It’s all new territory,” she said.