Chilliwack MLA John Martin’s former constituency assistant has his first court appearance of 2020 on Tuesday facing two counts of fraud over $5,000.
Desmond Michael Devnich is accused of stealing thousands of dollars from Martin’s office between 2013 and 2017, according to the BC Prosecution Service (BCPS).
Special Prosecutor Robin McFee approved the charges to Devnich in September, more than two years after he was fired by Martin.
Devnich is also charged with two counts of breach of trust by a public officer contrary to section 122 of the Criminal Code.
The charges cover the time period from June 25, 2013 to February 27, 2017.
His first court appearance on the file was on Oct. 8, 2019, followed by brief appearances by he and/or his lawyer on Nov. 12 and Dec. 10.
The reason for his appearance scheduled for Jan. 21, 2020 is listed as APW or “application for a warrant,” but that doesn’t mean Devnich has done anything wrong or is wanted. Often when an accused has a lawyer making appearances on his or her behalf, if that lawyer does not show up for whatever reason, the court notes the non-appearance and lists APW for the next date.
The story first broke in March 2017 when Martin announced he had fired an employee after discovering tens of thousands of dollars missing from his constituency office bank account.
“I’m profoundly disappointed in what has happened as I believe we have an obligation to wisely manage taxpayer money,” Martin told the Progress via telephone from Victoria.
Since then both Martin and Devnich have declined to comment since the matter is now before the courts.
Devnich is well-known in the community having held positions including director of the Chilliwack & District Agricultural Society, the Rotary Club, and working with the Downtown BIA and most recently the Chilliwack Chiefs.