Special prosecutors appointed in investigation into activities of senior staff at BC Legislature

BC Legislature
Photo by Rattan Mall

THE BC Prosecution Service (BCPS) on Tuesday announced that David Butcher and Brock Martland have been appointed as special prosecutors to provide legal assistance and advice to the RCMP in relation to an investigation being conducted into the activities of senior staff at the British Columbia Legislature.

(News reports say that the Clerk of the BC Legislature, Craig James, and the Sergeant-at-Arms, Gary Lenz, were put on administrative leave. But no reason was provided. They were escorted from the legislature by police. James told the media that he didn’t know why he was placed on leave.)
On September 28, the Assistant Deputy Attorney General (ADAG) for the BCPS, Peter Juk, received a formal request from the RCMP that he consider the appointment of a special prosecutor to provide police with legal advice during the course of their investigation.
The ADAG concluded, based on the request and the information available about the alleged circumstances of the case, that the appointment of special prosecutors is in the public interest. Given the potential size and scope of the investigation, the ADAG determined that two special prosecutors would be appointed.

The ADAG will consider appointing a special prosecutor where some aspect of an investigation, or prosecution file, carries a significant potential for real or perceived improper influence in prosecutorial decision making. A special prosecutor works independent from government, the Ministry of Attorney General and the BCPS.

On October 1, the ADAG appointed Butcher and Martland as special prosecutors in the matter. Both Butcher and Martland are senior counsel with the private bar in Vancouver.



Meanwhile, Speaker of the Legislature Darryl Plecas came under fire on Thursday when it emerged that he asked a friend to carry out a secret investigation into Craig James and Gary Lenz. Plecas tried to get his friend, Alan Mullen, who is also his assistant, appointed in place of Lenz. However, the house leaders of the Greens, Liberals and NDP at a Monday evening meeting refused to grant Plecas’ request, calling it “inappropriate”. The house leaders were not told that Mullen had conducted a seven-month investigation into Lenz and James.

Plecas’ office announced on Thursday that Wally Oppal, former attorney general, was going to provide legal advice as a special assistant. But nobody knows what Oppal’s actual role will be, according to news reports.