B.C. legislature Clerk Craig James (left) retired in 2019 after accusations by Speaker Darryl Plecas were substantiated. (The Canadian Press)

B.C. legislature Clerk Craig James (left) retired in 2019 after accusations by Speaker Darryl Plecas were substantiated. (The Canadian Press)

Former B.C. Legislature clerk charged with fraud, breach of trust

James made his first appearance at Victoria Courthouse Friday

Former B.C. legislature clerk Craig James has been charged as part of a special police probe into allegations of misspending in their travel, expenses and operation as the top administrators.

On Friday (Dec. 18), special prosecutors David Butcher and Brock Martin announced that James has been charged with four counts of breach of trust by a public officer and two counts of fraud over $5,000. The charges were filed Thursday, and James made his first appearance in the Victoria Courthouse Friday.

In November 2018, the BC Prosecution Service announced it would be appointing special prosecutors to investigate allegations that James used his position to advance his own personal interests over the public good.

READ MORE: Former chief justice investigates B.C. legislature

READ MORE: B.C. legislature clerk retires after wrongdoing found

Former B.C. legislature Speaker Darryl Plecas went to police with his findings after going on trips in 2017 with James and former sergeant-at-arms Gary Lenz. MLAs quickly voted to suspend both with pay, and they were escorted out of the building by Victoria Police officers. Plecas later released his findings, detailing a trip with stops at British and Scottish parliaments, St. Andrews golf course and shopping for legislature uniforms and luggage in London.

That triggered investigations by an MLA committee on handling expenses, and former Supreme Court of Canada chief justice Beverley McLachlin was hired to review the situation. James retired in 2019 after McLachlin found that he had improperly claimed benefits and used legislature property for personal reasons. She concluded that Lenz had not engaged in misconduct.

In February 2019, the MLA committee that oversees the legislature’s $70 million operating budget released a second report from Plecas, detailing further allegations involving a trip to Seattle by a group of officials including James, Lenz and their spouses, for a group described as devoted to emergency preparedness. Events included a visit to Safeco Field, including 13 tickets to a Seattle Mariners game, and three “working dinners” in Washington where taxpayers were billed more than $4,500 in expenses.

Another outing of the group in Victoria was described by James as a “tsunami watch” tour of Haro and Juan de Fuca Straits. Plecas said it was actually a whale watching tour.


@ashwadhwani
ashley.wadhwani@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism? Make a donation here.

BC legislature

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

Just Posted

Those who walk by the welcome figure often touch hands with it. (Screenshot/Jessica Poirier)
‘A presence in the school’: The story behind Hope Secondary’s welcome figure

After a year’s worth of delays due to COVID, the welcome figure… Continue reading

Environment Canada says the Eastern Fraser Valley will enjoy plenty of sunshine this week. (Black Press News File)
Sunny weather to stay around all week in Eastern Fraser Valley

Chilliwack, Abbotsford and Hope all forecasted for a week free of rainfall

Chilliwack school trustee Barry Neufeld has called for the resignation of B.C.’s Minister of Education, Jennifer Whiteside. He made the call during a speech in Vancouver on April 10, 2021, in a rally for a parent embroiled in legal battles surrounding his child’s transition.
Chilliwack school trustee calls for B.C.’s minister of education to resign

Barry Neufeld spoke at rally for jailed father in Vancouver, calling SOGI 123 a ‘dangerous experiment’

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod, seen here on April 9, 2021 with four-year-old sister Elena and mom Vanessa, was born with limb differences. The family, including husband/dad Sean McLeod, is looking for a family puppy that also has a limb difference. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
Chilliwack family looking for puppy with limb difference, just like 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy McLeod born as bilateral amputee, now her family wants to find ‘companion’ puppy for her

People take part in an anti-curfew protest in Montreal on Sunday April 11, 2021. Hundreds of people gathered in Old Montreal tonight in defiance of a new 8 p.m. curfew. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Giuseppe Valiante
VIDEO: Hundreds defy Montreal’s 8 p.m. curfew in violent, destructive protest

Quebec reported 1,535 new COVID-19 cases on Sunday, as well as five additional deaths linked to the virus

People walk past the Olympic rings in Whistler, B.C., Friday, May 15, 2020. Whistler which is a travel destination for tourists around the world is seeing the effects of travel bans due to COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Adults living, working in Whistler, B.C., eligible for COVID-19 vaccine on Monday

The move comes as the province deals with a rush of COVID-19 and variant cases in the community

RCMP crest. (Black Press Media files)
UPDATE: RCMP investigating after child, 6, dies at motel in Duncan, B.C.

The BC Coroners Service is conducting its own investigation into the circumstances around the child’s death

RCMP display some of the fish seized from three suspects who pleaded guilty to violating the Fisheries Act in 2019, in this undated handout photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO - RCMP
3 banned from fishing, holding licences after overfishing violations near Vancouver Island

Mounties seized the group’s 30-foot fishing vessel and all equipment on board at the time

B.C. Premier John Horgan responds to questions during a postelection news conference in Vancouver, on Sunday, October 25, 2020. British Columbia’s opposition Liberals and Greens acknowledge the COVID-19 pandemic has presented huge challenges for Horgan’s government, but they say Monday’s throne speech must outline a coherent plan for the province’s economic, health, social and environmental future. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Horgan’s NDP to bring in throne speech in B.C., Opposition wants coherent plan

Farnworth said the budget will include details of government investment in communities and infrastructure

FILE - An arena worker removes the net from the ice after the Vancouver Canucks and Calgary Flames NHL hockey game was postponed due to a positive COVID-19 test result, in Vancouver, British Columbia, in this Wednesday, March 31, 2021, file photo. As vaccinations ramp up past a pace of 3 million a day in the U.S, the NHL is in a tougher spot than the other three major North American professional sports leagues because seven of 31 teams are based on Canada. (Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press via AP, File)
Vancouver Canucks scheduled to practice Sunday, resume games April 16 after COVID outbreak

Canucks outbreak delayed the team’s season by eight games

Most Read