A criminal fraud charge laid against former city employee Grant Sanborn was stayed in Chilliwack provincial court Thursday.
And the remaining charge of using a forged document was described by defence counsel as so “relatively minor” that it would normally be dealt with by a professional body rather than the criminal justice system.
Judge Roy Couper Dickey asked defence lawyer Alexander Willms and Crown counsel Stephen Cooke to prepare a joint submission for the next court hearing on May 3.
Cooke said in his sentencing submission that the Crown is looking for a fine or suspended sentence.
He said the forgery stemmed from a 2007 letter Sanborn claimed was sent to his clients by the Agricultural Land Commission, and for which he billed them $1,753.
“The ALC never issued the letter,” Cooke said.
But Willms said Sanborn had done the work as claimed, but had fallen behind because of the “significant number of clients” he had in his private consulting business, and because of the hours he spent as chair of the Cultus Lake Park Board.
“There’s no doubt the action was inappropriate,” he said, but Sanborn had refunded the money and his guilty plea showed he is “genuinely remorseful for his actions.”
Willms also suggested the damage done to Sanborn’s reputation because of the publicity that has followed the case is punishment enough.
Twenty-five letters of supporting were also submitted at the hearing, one describing Sanborn as “professional, honest and hard-working.”
He has no criminal record.
Sanborn, now 53, resigned as the city’s approving officer in 2000, and set up his own private consulting business. In 2001, he was elected chair of the Cultus Lake Park Board, and re-elected in 2004.