Charges under consideration for Chilliwack MLA’s former constituency assistant

Unnamed individual accused of misappropriating funds from John Martin’s office nearly two years ago

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

Trailer severely damaged in Sunday morning fire in downtown Chilliwack

Two people were sleeping in the trailer at the time, but they managed to get out with their dog

Mayor reacts to suggestion to ship those in quarantine from the DTES to Chilliwack

‘People do best when they stay where they have supports already in place,’ stated Chilliwack mayor

Chilliwack councillor has a message to share amid this time of fear: ‘there is hope’

‘I realize there’s much more than fear and worry… there is new life and there is community’: Jason Lum

Social media a blessing and a curse during time of crisis: B.C. communication expert

‘In moments of crisis, fear is very real and palpable,’ says SFU’s Peter Chow-White

Small Chilliwack grocery business offering free home delivery during COVID-19 pandemic

Dickens Sweets taking over-the-phone orders, won’t be charging to deliver it right to your doorstep

Evening world update: U.S. restrictions extended 30 days; NY deaths near 1,000

Comprehensive world update, with the latest developments in the COVID-19 crisis

‘It’s up to us: Recently-returned B.C. couple urges Canadians to take COVID-19 seriously

Garrett Kucher and Tory Apostoliuk make it home after almost a week of lockdown in Spain

‘Nothing concrete’: Tenants, landlords lack details after B.C. unveils COVID-19 rental aid

Single mom in Golden says she’s already going to the food bank after being laid off

Canada will make sure masks sent by China meet quality standards: Trudeau

Chinese Embassy tweeted that China was sending 30,000 medical masks along with gowns, gloves and goggles

B.C. issues guidelines about distancing, reusable bags to grocery stores amid COVID-19

Hand sanitizer and markers to keep lines two metres are apart are needed, province says

No plans to call in military right now to enforce COVID-19 quarantine: Trudeau

Trudeau unveils $7.5M for Kids Help Phone, $9M for vulnerable seniors amid COVID-19

QUIZ: How much do you know about the Olympics?

Put your knowledge to the test with these 12 questions

B.C. announces $3M for food banks to increase capacity during COVID-19

It is not clear how much of the money will flow towards Greater Victoria food banks

Most Read