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)

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

FOI records provided to the News Bulletin from the City of Nanaimo in 2018. (News Bulletin file photo)
Samra’s numerous FOI requests to City of Nanaimo aren’t ‘vexatious,’ privacy commissioner decides

Former CAO says records will assist her in a future B.C. Human Rights Tribunal hearing

Chartwell Malaspina Care Residence in Nanaimo. (News Bulletin file photo)
Two Nanaimo care-home residents have died during COVID-19 outbreak

Death reported Monday was the second related to Chartwell Malaspina outbreak, says Island Health

Eighteen-year-old Aidan Webber died in a marine accident in 2019. He was a Canadian Junior BMX champion from Nanaimo. (Submitted)
Inadequate safety training a factor in teen BMX star’s workplace death in 2019

Aidan Webber was crushed by a barge at a fish farm near Port Hardy

Nanaimo RCMP are seeking the public’s help after a man allegedly assaulted a clerk at James General Store on Victoria Road on Jan. 18. (Submitted photo)
Suspect screams at customer then assaults store clerk on Nanaimo’s Victoria Road

RCMP asking for information about Jan. 18 incident at James General Store

(Black Press Media files)
Transport Canada not budging on enclosed deck rules, despite calls from BC Ferries union

There have been at least 23 cases of the U.K. variant detected in Canada, four of which are in B.C.

Maj.-Gen. Dany Fortin, vice-president of logistics and operations at the Public Health Agency of Canada, speaks at a news conference on the COVID-19 pandemic in Ottawa, on Friday, Jan. 15, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
B.C. records 500 new COVID-19 cases Wednesday, 14 deaths

Outbreak at Surrey Pretrial jail, two more in health care

A woman writes a message on a memorial mural wall by street artist James “Smokey Devil” Hardy during a memorial to remember victims of illicit drug overdose deaths on International Overdose Awareness Day, in the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver, on Monday, August 31, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. paramedics respond to record-breaking number of overdose calls in 2020

On the front lines, COVID-19 has not only led to more calls, but increased the complexity

Rod Bitten of Union Bay won $500,000 in the Lotto Max draw on Jan. 15. Photo supplied
Vancouver Island electrician gets shocking surprise with $500K Extra win

Rod Bitten has been hard at work with home renovations, which is… Continue reading

Rendering of two residential buildings proposed for the corner of Haliburton and Milton streets. (Matthew T. Hansen Architect image)
Two five-storey residential buildings approved for Haliburton Street

City council issues development permit for 79-unit complex at Haliburton and Milton

A suspect has been arrested in connection with fires at Drinkwater Elementary (pictured) and École Mount Prevost. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)
Arson suspect arrested after fires at Cowichan Valley schools

Drinkwater Elementary and Mount Prevost schools hit within a week

Oyster River Fire Rescue members were called out to a suspicious fire in Black Creek. Two vehicles parked at a private residence were destroyed by fire. Photo courtesy Oyster River Fire Rescue
Suspicious fire destroys two vehicles at Vancouver Island residence

Oyster River Fire Rescue personnel were dispatched to a fire at a… Continue reading

Members of the BC RCMP Explosive Disposal Unit (EDU) is on route to Drummond Park opposite of Fulford Habour on Saltspring Island after the discovery of a suspicious cylindrical-shaped device. (Google/Screencap)
Bomb disposal unit en route to Salt Spring Island after suspicious device found in park

Police say a resident discovered the device Wednesday morning in Drummond Park opposite BC Ferries terminal

Seven streets in downtown Duncan, including Station Street, will soon have new native names added to their signage. (Submitted graphic)
New Duncan street signs will be in English and Hul’q’umi’num

Seven streets to get additional names in First Nations language

Southern resident killer whales in B.C. waters. Research shows the population’s females are more negatively influenced by vessel traffic than males. (Photo supplied by Ocean Wise Conservation Association)
Female orcas less likely to feed in presence of vessel traffic: study

Research the southern resident population raises concerns over reproduction capacity

Most Read