Friday , October 22 2021

Revoked legislative officials refused to make any mistakes


Lawyers representing the two top officials were suspended and escorted from B.C. The legislature said last day that its clients did not make mistakes and still did not know why they were being investigated.

In a letter given to CBC by sources, lawyer Mark D. Andrews also condemned the "rush" suspension of Sergeant-at-Weapon Gary Lenz and House Registrar Craig James, calling for their immediate recovery.

Escorted by the police

On Tuesday, DPR leaders unanimously conveyed a motion to place Lenz and James on unlimited leave, while awaiting an investigation into the RCMP. The police escorted people from the legislature immediately after the movement passed.

James and B.C. Sergeant-in-Arms Gary Lenz is the subject of a criminal investigation. One to one

Andrews sent the letter to House leaders on Friday, saying his client had not been given an explanation for "this extreme treatment."

"Craig James and Gary Lenz denied having made a mistake. They have the right to be wronged until proven guilty. As a matter of basic justice, they deserve to be told what they alleged they did and were given the opportunity to respond to," read the letter.

Politicians still don't know

Andrews noted in a letter that media statements had made politicians clearly have no information about the investigation – making it inappropriate to vote on their suspension.

"This is not true. You should be given enough information to form judgments that are considered for the motion and the need to take such cruel actions," Andrews continued.

"The fact that there is an investigation is not a sufficient basis to suspend them from their position."

House leaders confirmed to CBC that they had received a copy of the letter.

BC Sergeant-at-Arms Gary Lenz, center, was escorted out of the legislature by security after he and House Registrar Craig James – two key officials in the British Columbia legislature – were placed on unlimited leave awaiting a criminal investigation on Tuesday. (Dirk Meissner / Canadian Press)

Andrews said one of the special prosecutors assigned to the investigation, David Butcher, said special prosecutors and the RCMP did not ask Lenz and James to be excluded from their roles in the DPR.

Actions immediately requested

At the end of the letter, Andrews appealed to DPR leaders to take "immediate" action to cancel Tuesday's motion.

"Time is essential if some damage to our clients … will be canceled," the lawyer wrote.

Andrew also compared the situation of Lenz and James with the wrongful dismissal of eight Ministry of Health employees in 2012. The "hurry" dismissal, said Andrew, was guided by "mistaken suspicion and investigation."

"We respectfully suggest that it seems the mistakes are being repeated," the lawyer wrote.

Read the full letter below:

Liberals demand answers

Then Friday, Opposition Leader House Mary Polak issued a letter to the House Speaker Darryl Plecas calling for an emergency meeting of the Legislative Assembly Management Committee.

The agency of all parties exists to "develop policies for the administration and financial management of the Legislative Assembly." A Liberal spokesman said that the meeting did not occur.

A few hours after Polak's letter, the Liberals sent a second letter, this time addressed to NDP Home Leader Mike Farnworth and Leader of the Sonia Furstenau Green House.

The letter asked a series of questions about the government's handling of the affair so far.

Read the full letter below:

Officials are silent

The RCMP has not released details about the nature of the investigation around Lenz and James, but the timeline is clearer because what caused the suspension of their bombs began to appear Wednesday.

During the press conference, Alan Mullen – special adviser to Plecas – said Plecas hired him in January, citing concerns about Lenz and James.

Mullen secretly investigated men for seven months and reported his findings to the RCMP in August. The RCMP contacted Crown the following month, and two special prosecutors were appointed to handle the case.

On Thursday, Polak revealed another scandal: he read allegations of oath to reporters who said that Plecas on Monday, the day before the suspension, asked Mullen to be appointed as Lenz's temporary replacement.

Opposition leaders raised concerns about the speaker's plan to appoint friends as sergeants-in-arms. 0:52

Polak said he, Farnworth and Furstenau immediately rejected Plecas' request.

Wally Oppal was appointed

After Polak's announcement, Plecas avoided the media – but Mullen emerged from Speaker's office to announce that a second special advisor had been appointed to guide Plecas on "legal issues."

Mullen announced Thursday afternoon that the former judge and attorney general Wally Oppal had been appointed as the second special advisor to the speaker. 0:32

Former B.C. Attorney General Wally Oppal has stepped into that role.

Current Deputy Officer Kate Ryan-Lloyd has been appointed as the current official and Deputy Sergeant, Randy Ennis as a sergeant awaiting investigation.

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