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

Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Sept. 20 to 26

Rabbit Day, Hobbit Day and One-Hit Wonder Day are all coming up this week

Single-engine aircraft crashes near Telkwa

Two occupants of the plane sustained minor injuries and were transported to hospital

Cullen announces bid for provincial NDP nomination for Stikine riding

Current MLA Donaldson not seeking re-election

Northern Health records 1st fatality due to COVID-19

Six people died from the novel coronavirus on the weekend, health officials confirm

Police look for vehicle, male driver after incident involving girl, 11

The driver was described as an older Caucasian male with white hair, no glasses, and no facial hair

B.C. or Ontario? Residential school survivors fight move of court battle

It’s now up to Ontario’s Court of Appeal to sort out the venue question

B.C. transportation minister will not seek re-election

Claire Trevena has held the position since 2017

Young B.C. cancer survivor rides 105-km with Terry Fox’s brother

Jacob Bredenhof and Darrell Fox’s cycling trek raises almost $90,000 for cancer research

B.C. migrant, undocumented workers rally for permanent residency program

Rally is part of the Amnesty for Undocumented Workers Campaign led by the Migrant Workers Centre

Preparations underway for pandemic election in Saskatchewan and maybe B.C.

Administrators in B.C. and around the country are also looking to expand voting by mail during the pandemic

Nearly 20 per cent of COVID-19 infections among health-care workers by late July

WHO acknowledged the possibility that COVID-19 might be spread in the air under certain conditions

Ferry riders say lower fares are what’s most needed to improve service

Provincial government announces findings of public engagement process

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg dies at 87

The court’s second female justice, died Friday at her home in Washington

Application deadline for fish harvester benefits program extended

Those financially impacted by the pandemic have until Oct. 5 to apply

Most Read