THE BC Prosecution Service (BCPS) announced on Thursday that special prosecutor Michael Klein has approved a single charge of sexual assault against Port Moody Mayor Robert Vagramov.
The BCPS said that Klein had been appointed special prosecutor on December 17, 2018, in relation to an investigation of a sexual assault alleged to have occurred in Coquitlam in 2015. The suspect was alleged to be Vagramov, now the mayor of Port Moody.
The Assistant Deputy Attorney General Peter Juk appointed Klein special prosecutor under the Crown Counsel Act because he considered it in the public interest to do so. The appointment of a special prosecutor is intended to avoid any potential for real or perceived improper influence in the administration of justice in light of the nature of the allegations and the identity of the accused as an elected municipal official.
Klein, a senior Vancouver lawyer in private practice, was given a mandate to provide legal advice to the RCMP investigators as may be necessary, conduct any related charge assessment and assume conduct of the prosecution if charges were approved.
Vagramov’s first appearance on this matter is scheduled for April 25 in Port Coquitlam Provincial Court.
Announcement of the appointment of the special prosecutor was initially postponed pending completion of the investigation and approval of charges. Following consultation with the special prosecutor, and taking into account the specific circumstances of the case, the BCPS said it concluded that issuing a media statement announcing the appointment was appropriate at this time.
As this matter is now before the court, neither the BCPS nor the special prosecutor will be making any further comment or releasing any further information.
PORT Moody Council on Thursday at a special closed meeting approved a request made by Vagramov for an indefinite leave of absence, effective Friday (March 29).
Council approved a paid leave of absence and expressed their support for the mayor’s decision to step aside at this time to prepare a defence pertaining to a personal legal matter which is now before the courts.
Councillor Diana Dilworth is the current Acting Mayor and City business continues as usual. A rotating Acting Mayor schedule is available on the City’s website at portmoody.ca, according to a press release.