B.C. legislature clerk Craig James speaks to reporters before being escorted out Tuesday. Behind him is Alan Mullen, advisor to Speaker Darryl Plecas, who orchestrated their removal. (Tom Fletcher/Black Press)

UPDATE: B.C. legislature staff remain on suspension, Mike Farnworth says

Prosecutors, police didn’t ask for suspensions, lawyer tells MLAs

Lawyers for suspended the B.C. legislature administrators are calling for them to be reinstated, but NDP government house leader Mike Farnworth says it stays in place.

“The RCMP are conducting an active investigation with the assistance of two special prosecutors appointed by the independent BC Prosecution Service,” Farnworth said in a statement Friday afternoon. “This is a serious matter and the appropriate course of action for all is to refrain from speculation and allow the police to do their job.”

A lawyer for the two executives wrote to Farnworth and the other party house leaders saying their reputations “are in the process of being destroyed” by the sudden suspensions. Farnworth said the suspensions were unanimously approved by MLAs.

Clerk of the House Craig James and Sergeant-at-Arms Gary Lenz deny any wrongdoing and the motion of the B.C. legislature to place them on administrative leave was “improper” due to lack of information given to MLAs, lawyer Mark Andrews wrote in a letter to party house leaders Friday.

Andrews noted that David Butcher, one of two special prosecutors appointed in the case, has stated that neither he nor the RCMP called for their suspension, which was carried out while the legislature was in session Tuesday morning.

“They are entitled to be treated as innocent until proven guilty,” Andrews wrote. “They are the most senior and long-serving and loyal servants of the legislative assembly whose reputations are in the process of being destroyed by these events.”

He added that Speaker Darryl Plecas “has no constitutional authority to carry out an investigation” and “no authority to hire a ‘special advisor’ to do so.”

(See letter in full below)

NDP house leader Mike Farnworth, B.C. Liberal house leader Mary Polak and B.C. Greens house leader Sonia Fursteneau were told of the appointment of special prosecutors in a meeting with Plecas Monday evening. All MLAs voted in favour of the suspensions Tuesday, immediately after question period.

RELATED: Speaker wanted to appoint his assistant as sergeant at arms

Farnworth said Thursday the advice from lawyers in the Attorney General’s ministry was that placing the two on administrative leave with pay was the correct step. But the timing and public nature of their suspension has been widely questioned, after they were trailed by TV cameras out the door after having their keys removed.

The B.C. legislature sits two more days next week before adjourning until February.


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

James Lenz Lawyer Nov. 23 2018 by Tom Fletcher on Scribd

BC legislature

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Geotechnical work set to get underway at Rossland Museum

Crews will be working at the museum from June 1 to 12

City of Rossland asks motorists to be mindful of four bears roaming around Trail hill

The bears have been seen multiple times along the highway this month

Young farmers find a home through land-matching program

Young Agrarians links would-be farmers with landowners who have land to spare

Morning start: A history of the Arrow Lakes

Here is your Kootenays’ morning start for Wednesday, May 27

B.C. legislature coming back June 22 as COVID-19 emergency hits record

Pandemic restrictions now longer than 2017 wildfire emergency

Feds delay national action plan for missing and murdered Indigenous women

Meanwhile, the pandemic has exacerbated the violence facing many Indigenous women and girls

B.C.’s essential grocery, hardware store employees should get pandemic pay: retail group

Only B.C.’s social, health and corrections workers are eligible for top-ups

COLUMN: Canada needs to remember rural communities as thoughts turn to pandemic recovery

Small towns often rely on tourism, which has been decimated by COVID-19

Edmonton, Vancouver and Toronto vying to be NHL hubs, but there’s a catch

The NHL unveiled a return-to-play plan that would feature 24 teams

B.C. sees 9 new COVID-19 cases, one death as officials watch for new cases amid Phase Two

Number of confirmed active cases is at 244, with 37 people in hospital

Nanaimo senior clocked going 50 km/hr over limit says her SUV shouldn’t be impounded

RCMP say they can’t exercise discretion when it comes to excessive speeding tickets

Illicit-drug deaths up in B.C. and remain highest in Canada: chief coroner

More than 4,700 people have died of overdoses since B.C. declared a public health emergency in early 2016

Most Read