B.C. legislature clerk Craig James speaks to reporters before being escorted out by men in background Tuesday. (Tom Fletcher/Black Press)

VIDEO: B.C. legislature clerk, sergeant at arms suspended for criminal investigation

Clerk of the House Craig James, Sergeant-at-arms Gary Lenz on administrative leave

B.C. legislature Clerk Craig James and Sergeant at Arms Gary Lenz were abruptly escorted out of the building Tuesday morning, placed on administrative leave due to a police investigation.

Government House leader Mike Farnworth had little to say about the move after he announced it during debate in the legislature at about 11 a.m.

Alan Mullen, a political advisor to Speaker Darryl Plecas, said there is an ongoing RCMP criminal investigation that James and Lenz were informed about while the motion was being presented in the legislature. Mullen said both are placed on administrative leave with pay, effective immediately.

“I can confirm that there has been a special prosecutor assigned,” Mullen said. “I can confirm that there is an active and ongoing criminal investigation by the RCMP. It would be inappropriate to say anything more, because we don’t want to jeopardize any investigation that the RCMP have ongoing.”

James spoke briefly to reporters after turning in his keys and collecting his personal effects. He said the Speaker, Darryl Plecas, asked him and Lenz to meet him in his office after question period.

“[Plecas] looked quite distressed, and wasn’t able to convey anything to me,” James said. “I asked him if it had to do with any members (MLAs), any staff, was there a threat on this place. He said none of the above, and quite obviously there’s another reason.”

The B.C. Prosecution Service announced Tuesday that lawyers David Butcher and Brock Martland were appointed Oct. 1 as special prosecutors in the case, with two required due to the “potential size and scope of the investigation.” RCMP notified the service Sept. 28 that the investigation was underway.

James is the chief administrator of the legislature, which has an operating budget of about $70 million. He began his B.C. career in 1987 as B.C.’s chief electoral officer and has been clerk since 2011.

Lenz, a former senior RCMP officer, is in charge of legislature security.

Premier John Horgan said he was notified of the situation Monday, but knows nothing more than has been made public. MLAs voted unanimously to support a motion to suspend James and Lenz. The motion specifies that they are not allowed to have access to computer networks or systems or to be in any legislature building, “subject to periodic review by the Legislative Assembly.”


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

City approves $10M to finish Port Alberni’s wastewater treatment plant

Money won’t come from taxation, but will affect sewer user fees, says city CAO

Women assaulted in pair of weekend attacks in Port Alberni

RCMP say no reason to suspect attacks are related, but suspects still at large

Coulson Aviation CEO walks Australian crash site, pays tribute to fallen flight crew

Company’s 737 tanker crews back in the air fighting Australian bushfires

Port Alberni drag racers turn attention back to Stamp Avenue for 2020, 2021

AVDRA to ask city council for permission, road closures to run Thunder in the Valley Aug. 7-9, 2020

Port Alberni packs 500 Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes in 2019

Worldwide distribution begins for annual humanitarian aid campaign

VIDEO: Canada’s first presumptive case of coronavirus officially confirmed

Both patient and wife arrived on a China Southern Airlines flight after having been to Wuhan

Swapping grape varieties can help winemakers adapt to climate change: UBC study

Report says 56% of wine-grape-growing regions would be lost if global climate warms by 2 C

Alberta premier wants feds to approve Teck mine for benefit of First Nations

Kenney: ‘Surely [reconciliation] means saying yes to economic development for First Nations people’

Police search for man who went missing from Vernon hotel

Jay Rosenberger, 38, was last seen Friday

Filming for Resident Alien begins in Ladysmith

Aliens and excitement take over the streets of Ladysmith during new TV series

NDP suggests easing secondary housing rules for B.C. farmland

Lana Popham proposes guest homes not just for relatives

After four sexual assaults in the same B.C. park, RCMP ask women not to walk alone

Four sexual assaults took place in Glen Park over two months

The Three Bears are down to two after baby bear carving stolen from his perch in Island community

Thief repeatedly kicked it and dislodged it from cement and rebar

BC Place lights up in purple and yellow to honour Kobe Bryant

Kobe Bryant, his 13-year-old daughter and seven others were killed in a helicopter crash

Most Read