Convicted Pitt Meadows councillor not stepping down

David Murray said potential appeal is still months away.

Despite a conviction for sexual assault, Coun. David Murray is not stepping down from Pitt Meadows council.

On Thursday, and noting that he had just been convicted at 12:30 p.m. the day before, Murray said he was not ready to make a decision about his future as a councillor.

“I’m still trying to get my head around everything,” he said.

On Wednesday, after three days in court, Murray was found guilty of sexually assaulting a 13 or 14-year-old girl who, worked for him, in 1992.

There is nothing in the Community Charter, which governs municipal politicians, to compel Murray to step down. He has remained on council despite the sex assault charge since November 2016.

Murray’s next appearance in court will be Jan. 10, when a date will be set for a sentencing hearing. That would likely follow in March.

Then, Murray noted, he will have 30 days to appeal the decision.

His attorney has advised him not to say anything more, he said.

Murray said he needs to sit down and talk to those involved.

“I wasn’t expecting this to go this way,” he said. “I’m a Christian person, and God knows I haven’t done anything.

“It’s a tough one.”

Coun. Bill Dingwall was able to make a determination shortly after the announcement, saying Murray should step down.

“It’s about the reputation of the city and public confidence,” said Dingwall.

Dingwall posted:

Former Pitt Meadows mayor Don MacLean, who didn’t serve on council with Murray, but saw him as an effective councillor, said he believes Murray should “probably” step down.

“It would be difficult for him to be able to do his job as well as he can,” said MacLean.

The former mayor found the conviction shocking, and disturbing in that politicians increasingly have trouble winning the public’s trust, he said.

Ultimately, the decision to step down or remain on council is Murray’s and MacLean suggested council could give him a leave of absence to make a decision.

They cannot bar him – as a duly elected member of council – from attending meetings.

MacLean said the remaining six members of council should be able to function effectively for year, until the next municipal election.

Mayor John Becker is away from city hall for the week. He said, in other reports, that he has been and remains a friend to Murray, and he is discussing the matter with city staff and legal representatives.

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