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

A tent housing a mobile vaccination clinic. (Interior Health/Contributed)
Second dose vaccinations accelerating throughout region: Interior Health

To date, more than 675,000 doses have been administered throughout the region

Okanagan Lake (File photo)
Thompson-Okanagan ready to welcome back tourists

The Thompson-Okanagan Tourism Association expects this summer to be a busy one

Aerial view of a wildfire at 16 Mile, 11 kilometres northwest of Cache Creek, that started on the afternoon of June 15. (Photo credit: BC Wildfire Service)
Wildfire at 16 Mile now being held

Wildfire started on the afternoon of June 15 at 16 Mile, east of Highway 97

The Desert Daze Music Festival is doggone good fun, as shown in this photo from the 2019 festival, and it will be back in Spences Bridge this September. (Photo credit: Barbara Roden)
‘Best Little Fest in the West’ returning to Spences Bridge

Belated 10th anniversary Desert Daze festival going ahead with music, vendors, workshops, and more

Internet speed graphic, no date. Photo credit: Pixabay
Study asks for public input to show actual internet speeds in B.C. communities

Federal maps showing Internet speeds might be inflated, so communities lose out on faster Internet

People line up to get their COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination centre, Thursday, June 10, 2021 in Montreal. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Vaccines, low COVID case counts increase Father’s Day hope, but risk is still there

Expert says people will have to do their own risk calculus before popping in on Papa

FILE – A science class at L.A. Matheson Secondary in Surrey, B.C. on March 12, 2021. (Lauren Collins/Surrey Now Leader)
Teachers’ union wants more COVID transmission data as B.C. prepares for back-to-school

BCTF says that details will be important as province works on plan for September

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry outlines B.C.’s COVID-19 restart plan, May 25, 2021, including larger gatherings and a possible easing of mandatory masks on July 1. (B.C. government photo)
B.C. records 120 new COVID-19 cases, second vaccines accelerating

Lower Pfizer deliveries for early July, Moderna shipments up

A Heffley Creek peacock caught not one - but two - lifts on a logging truck this month. (Photo submitted)
Heffley Creek-area peacock hops logging trucks in search of love

Peacock hitched two lifts in the past month

The Calgary skyline is seen on Friday, Sept. 15, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
2 deaths from COVID-19 Delta variant in Alberta, 1 patient was fully immunized

Kerry Williamson with Alberta Health Services says the patients likely acquired the virus in the hospital

The first suspension bridge is the tallest in Canada, with a second suspension bridge just below it. The two are connected by a trail that’s just over 1 km. (Claire Palmer photo)
PHOTOS: The highest suspension bridges in Canada just opened in B.C.

The Skybridge in Golden allows visitors to take in views standing at 130 and 80 metres

BC Green Party leader and Cowichan Valley MLA Sonia Furstenau introduced a petition to the provincial legislature on Thursday calling for the end of old-growth logging in the province. (File photo)
BC Green leader Furstenau introduces old-growth logging petition

Party calls for the end of old-growth logging as protests in Fairy Creek continue

B.C. Premier John Horgan leaves his office for a news conference in the legislature rose garden, June 3, 2020. (B.C. government photo)
B.C. premier roasted for office budget, taxing COVID-19 benefits

Youth addiction law that triggered election hasn’t appeared

A vial containing the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine is shown at a vaccination site in Marcq en Baroeul, outside Lille, northern France, Saturday, March 20, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Michel Spingler
mRNA vaccines ‘preferred’ for all Canadians, including as 2nd dose after AstraZeneca: NACI

New recommendations prioritizes Pfizer, Moderna in almost all cases

Most Read