Independent
journalism that swims
against the current.
News
BC Politics

Former Clerk Craig James Charged in BC Legislature Spending Scandal

Special prosecutors recommended charges of breach of trust and fraud against former top manager of legislature operations.

Andrew MacLeod 18 Dec 2020TheTyee.ca

Andrew MacLeod is The Tyee’s Legislative Bureau Chief in Victoria and the author of All Together Healthy (Douglas & McIntyre, 2018). Find him on Twitter or reach him at .

Criminal charges have been laid against Craig James, the former clerk of the British Columbia legislature who retired last year amid accusations of misconduct.

The BC Prosecution Service announced today that James has been charged with four counts of breach of trust by a public officer and two counts of fraud in excess of $5,000.

Approved by special prosecutors David Butcher and Brock Martland, the charges were filed in the BC Supreme Court Thursday.

As clerk, James was the top staff person in the $80-million-a-year legislature.

MLAs in the legislature voted to suspend him and another senior official in November 2018 after learning the RCMP was investigating.

A pair of 2019 reports from then Speaker Darryl Plecas detailed wide-ranging concerns.

In May 2019, a review by retired Supreme Court of Canada chief justice Beverley McLachlin found James had received improper benefits, made improper purchases of a personal nature and had removed and used legislative assembly property.

James had claimed repayment from the legislature that he wasn’t entitled to for two suits, three luggage purchases and private insurance premiums, she found.

Also, she found that “Mr. James engaged in misconduct by removing alcohol from the legislative precinct without accounting for it.”

And she found that keeping the wood splitter and trailer that the legislature had purchased at his home was inappropriate.

“Mr. James engaged in misconduct by keeping the wood splitter and trailer under his personal control for almost a year and using both for personal purposes during that time, in the face of clear consensus that there was no reason for the equipment not to be on Legislative Assembly property.”

McLachlin also found there was no legal basis for James to receive a $258,000 retirement benefit payment in 2012 and that his role in it being issued constituted misconduct.

James made a first appearance today at the Victoria Courthouse. The next appearance is scheduled for Jan. 27.  [Tyee]

Read more: BC Politics

  • Share:

Facts matter. Get The Tyee's in-depth journalism delivered to your inbox for free

Tyee Commenting Guidelines

Comments that violate guidelines risk being deleted, and violations may result in a temporary or permanent user ban. Maintain the spirit of good conversation to stay in the discussion.
*Please note The Tyee is not a forum for spreading misinformation about COVID-19, denying its existence or minimizing its risk to public health.

Do:

  • Be thoughtful about how your words may affect the communities you are addressing. Language matters
  • Challenge arguments, not commenters
  • Flag trolls and guideline violations
  • Treat all with respect and curiosity, learn from differences of opinion
  • Verify facts, debunk rumours, point out logical fallacies
  • Add context and background
  • Note typos and reporting blind spots
  • Stay on topic

Do not:

  • Use sexist, classist, racist, homophobic or transphobic language
  • Ridicule, misgender, bully, threaten, name call, troll or wish harm on others
  • Personally attack authors or contributors
  • Spread misinformation or perpetuate conspiracies
  • Libel, defame or publish falsehoods
  • Attempt to guess other commenters’ real-life identities
  • Post links without providing context

LATEST STORIES

The Barometer

What Environmental Impacts Are Most Concerning to You This Summer?

Take this week's poll