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

The Farm Fresh website makes it easy to connect with local farmers. (Courtesy Farm Fresh)
Island Farm Fresh Guide lets residents explore local product

Guide appears in this week’s edition of Black Press Media newspapers from Duncan to Victoria

Victoria police arrested federal offender Travis Moore April 13, who was wanted for breaching the conditions of his statutory release. (Courtesy of VicPD)
Victoria police arrest federal offender following foot chase

Travis Moore, 28, was wanted for breaching the conditions of his statutory release

A grey whale off the coast of Vancouver Island is being monitored by Canadian and U.S. researchers, as it has developed lesions after being tagged last year. To try and prevent systemic infection from developing, the team administered antibiotics to the whale on March 31 and April 1. (Photo from the NOAA Fisheries website)
Tagged grey whale off Vancouver Island given treatment after developing lesions

Canadian and U.S. whale experts administered antibiotics to the animal on March 31, April 1

Grandmothers to Grandmothers is a campaign that connects Canadian grandmothers with grandmothers in Africa who are caring for children orphaned by AIDS. Here, they are in Kakuto, Uganda in 2018. (Kibuuka Mukisa Oscar photo)
Greater Victoria and African grandmothers celebrate solidarity with virtual concert

Grandmothers to Grandmothers supports women in Africa caring for children orphaned by AIDS

A person receives a COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS
B.C. sees 873 more COVID-19 cases Tuesday, decline continues

Hospitalizations up to 377, two more deaths for 1,515 total

This 2013 Dodge Ram 1500 was stolen from Black Creek Motors at approximately 2 a.m. Sunday, April 11. Photos via blackcreekmotors.com
VIDEO: B.C. car dealer posts clip of thieves towing a truck right off his lot

Video shows one white truck towing another off Vancouver Island lot

FILE – People hold signs during a memorial march to remember victims of overdose deaths in Vancouver on Saturday, August 15, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. to request federal exemption for simple drug possession

Announcement comes on 5-year anniversary of B.C.’s first public health emergency

(AP Photo/Matthias Schrader, FIle)
Rare blood clots ‘may be linked’ to AstraZeneca vaccines: Health Canada

One case of the adverse effect has been reported in Canada

Restaurant patrons enjoy the weather on a patio in Vancouver, B.C., Monday, April 5, 2021. The province has restricted indoor dining at all restaurants in B.C. due to a spike in COVID-19 numbers. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C.’s COVID-19 indoor dining, drinking ban extending into May

Restaurant association says patio rules to be clarified

Two men walk past a sign on Main Street in downtown Vancouver, B.C., Monday, April 5, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Calls for government transparency in COVID data continue as B.C.’s 3rd wave wears on

Social media, where both information and misinformation can spread like wildfire, has not helped

Sharis Carr, a nurse at the Aaron E. Henry Community Health Service Center in Clarksdale, Miss., holds a box containing doses of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine Wednesday, April 7, 2021. The U.S. is recommending a “pause” in using the single-dose Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine to investigate reports of potentially dangerous blood clots. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)
EXPLAINER: What’s known about COVID vaccines and rare clots

These are not typical blood clots – they’re weird in two ways

A man sustained burns to his body near this spot around 3:30 a.m. Tuesday, April 13 in Courtenay. The fire was left of the pathway. The Station youth housing facility and city public works yard are to the right of the trail. Photo by Terry Farrell
Man catches fire sleeping while outdoors in downtown Courtenay

Firefighters say man still burning when they arrived after he fell asleep next to his fire

Most Read