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.

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

Just Posted

‘The face of Belmont’: Custodial staff at Langford school pivot to support parents, students

Staff serve as point of contact for parents, students with school

Sooke temporary homeless shelter packs up early

Occupants to leave facility by June 22

Name of victims ‘ripped down’ from Victoria display

Organizers feel the act is ‘malicious’

Government Street becomes pedestrian-priority corridor

One block of downtown street closed to cars entirely

Greater Victoria transit usage sees gradual rise

Ridership still down 66 per cent compared to last year

March dental conference key to many of B.C.’s COVID-19 cases

Early infections from China, Iran were quickly contained

POLL: Are you sending your children back to school this month?

Classrooms looked decidedly different when students headed back to school for the… Continue reading

Cortes Island affordable housing project hangs by a thread

Regional decision makers resort to COVID-19 concerns despite virtual meeting option and push hearing to September

MAP: Dr. Henry reveals which B.C. regions have seen most COVID-19 cases

B.C. health officials release a first look at how the novel coronavirus has reached all corners of the province

North Island recreation camping site closed due to vandalism

Damage happens every year, forcing site manager to reallocate improvement budget to repairs

Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation woman, 26, fatally shot by police in Edmundston, N.B.

Police were conducting a well-being check at the time of the incident

Seniors to receive up to $500 in promised COVID-19 emergency aid in early July

The Liberal government first promised the extra help in mid-May, but had to create a new system to deliver the aid

VIDEO: Revelstoke bear wanders into Animal House pet store

Staff got ready to chase it out with a broom

Man found dead in his tent at Island homeless camp

Facebook posts tell of personal struggles and attempts to stay clean and sober

Most Read