Two special prosecutors to handle cases of two MPs
THE BC Prosecution Service (BCPS) announced on Monday that it will assume conduct of contempt proceedings for breaches of Trans Mountain Pipeline’s injunction covering its work site in Burnaby.
On April 9, the BC Supreme Court formally asked the Attorney General, through the BC Prosecution Service, to assume conduct of the contempt proceedings. Justice Kenneth Affleck expressed his view that the public nature of the breaches warranted criminal sanction.
In response to this request, the BCPS said it has independently conducted a general review of the cases that Trans Mountain Pipeline has put before the Court under its charge assessment (CHA1) and civil disobedience (CIV1) policies. The BCPS has concluded that criminal contempt proceedings are warranted for those who have been brought before court after being arrested in breach of the injunction and the BCPS should assume conduct of the proceedings.
The BCPS also announced that on April 11, the Assistant Deputy Attorney General Peter Juk (ADAG) appointed two special prosecutors to handle the cases of two Members of Parliament who were arrested along with other protestors at the work site. The ADAG made the appointments under section 7 of the Crown Counsel Act because he considered it in the public interest to do so. The appointments were necessary to avoid any significant potential for real or perceived improper influence in the administration of criminal justice.
Michael Klein, a senior Vancouver lawyer in private practice, has been appointed to deal with the case involving MP Kennedy Stewart. Greg DelBigio, also a senior Vancouver lawyer in private practice, has been appointed to deal with the case involving MP Elizabeth May. Both special prosecutors have been given mandates to conduct an independent review of the evidence to determine whether the actions amount to criminal contempt of court. And, if they determine that prosecution for criminal contempt is warranted, conduct the prosecution and any subsequent appeal.
As these matters are now before the court, the BCPS said that neither it nor the special prosecutors will be making any further comment.