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

Just Posted

Police tape is shown in Toronto Tuesday, May 2, 2017. Statistics Canada says the country's crime rate ticked up again in 2018, for a fourth year in a row, though it was still lower than it was a decade ago. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graeme Roy
CRIME STOPPERS: ‘Most wanted’ for the week of June 13

Crime Stoppers’ weekly list based on information provided by police investigators

Madalyn Clempson, 18, of Chilliwack sings ‘Hiney Yamin Ba-im.’ She won the Intermediate Vocal Canadian Music award at the Performing Arts BC Virtual Provincial Festival. (YouTube)
Chilliwack youth bring home awards from provincial performing arts festival

Chilliwack’s 18-year-old Madalyn Clempson ‘a bit stunned’ to have won Intermediate Vocal Canadian Music

These three kittens, seen here on Thursday, June 10, 2021, are just some of many up for adoption at the Chilliwack SPCA. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: Find Me My Furever Home – Three kittens at the Chilliwack SPCA

Kittens were in ‘rough shape’ when they came into the Chilliwack SPCA, now ready for adoption

Jacqueline Pearce and Jean-Pierre Antonio received the BC Historical Federation Best Article Award on Saturday for their story about translating haiku written in the Tashme internment camp.
Article chronicling haiku in Japanese internment camp near Hope wins award

Tashme Haiku Club’s work was preserved and recently translated, authors write

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod laughs while playing with Lucky the puppy outside their Chilliwack home on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: Chilliwack family finds ‘perfect’ puppy with limb difference for 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy has special bond with Lucky the puppy who was also born with limb difference

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau participates in a plenary session at the G7 Summit in Carbis Bay, England on Friday June 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada donating 13M surplus COVID-19 vaccine doses to poor countries

Trudeau says the government will pay for 87 million shots to be distributed to poor countries

Premier John Horgan speaks as provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry, right, and health minister Adrian Dix look on during a press conference to update on the province’s fall pandemic preparedness plan during a press conference from the press theatre at Legislature in Victoria, Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. officials to provide details on Step 2 of COVID reopening plan Monday

Step 2 could allow for larger gatherings and a resumption of recreational travel

Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller is seen during a news conference, Wednesday May 19, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Indigenous child-welfare battle heads to court despite calls for Ottawa to drop cases

Feds are poised to argue against two Canadian Human Rights Tribunal rulings

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

The Great Ogopogo Bathtub Race has been held in Summerland as a fundraising event. Do you know which Canadian city introduced this sport? (Black Press file photo)
QUIZ: A summer’s day at the water

How much do you know about boats, lakes and water?

A million-dollar ticket was sold to an individual in Vernon from the Lotto Max draw Friday, June 11, 2021. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lottery ticket worth $1 million sold in Vernon

One lucky individual holds one of 20 tickets worth $1 million from Friday’s Lotto Max draw

“65 years, I’ve carried the stories in my mind and live it every day,” says Jack Kruger. (Athena Bonneau)
‘Maybe this time they will listen’: Survivor shares stories from B.C. residential school

Jack Kruger, living in Syilx territory, wasn’t surprised by news of 215 children’s remains found on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School

A logging truck carries its load down the Elaho Valley near in Squamish, B.C. in this file photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chuck Stoody
Squamish Nation calls for old-growth logging moratorium in its territory

The nation says 44% of old-growth forests in its 6,900-square kilometre territory are protected while the rest remain at risk

Most Read