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

Bears are waking up hungry and starting to forage, Conservation Officer Service said on April 9. Prince Residents are advised to keep garbage in sealed containers to lessen bear attraction. (Photo: K-J Millar/The Northern View)
Keep bears wild – they are not teddy bears

Conservation Officer Service warns bears are waking up hungry

Prince Rupert couple Alvin Tait and Loni Martin have postponed their wedding two times due to COVID-19 affecting the marriage rates in Prince Rupert. (Photo: supplied/L.Martin)
No marriages in Prince Rupert in 2021 so far

Weddings down 23.9% in P.R. since COVID-19 with B.C. wedding industry loss at $158 million

Three North Coast organizations are granted funding to promote multiculturalism and support anti-racism, Jennifer Rice MLA announced on April 8. Conrad Elementary School students recognized the first Black Shirt Day on January 15, 2021, to advocate for anti-racism. (Photo: K-J Millar/The Northern View)
North Coast organizations to benefit from anti-racism funding

$944,000 granted in provincial funding to aid multiculturalism

Restaurant patrons enjoy the weather on a patio in Vancouver, B.C., Monday, April 5, 2021. The province has suspended indoor dining at restaurants and pubs until at least April 19 in B.C. due to a spike in COVID-19 numbers. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. sets new COVID-19 daily record with 1,293 cases Thursday

New order allows workplace closures when infections found

The new 3,500 hectare conservancy in Tahltan territory is located next to Mount Edziza Provincial Park. (BC Parks Photo)
New conservancy protects sacred Tahltan land near Mount Edziza Provincial Park

Project is a collaboration between Skeena Resources, conservation groups and the TCG

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and Premier John Horgan describe vaccine rollout at the legislature, March 29, 2021. (B.C. government)
1,262 more COVID-19 infections in B.C. Friday, 9,574 active cases

Province’s mass vaccination reaches one million people

Ruming Jiang and his dog Chiu Chiu are doing fine following a brush with hypothermia that saw several people work together to get them out of the Fraser River near Langley’s Derby Reach Park on March 25, 2021 (Special to the Advance Times)
B.C. man finds men who rescued him from drowning in Fraser River

A grateful Ruming Jiang says he will thank them again, this time in person, when the pandemic ends

Tyson Ginter, 7, is proud of his latest Hot Wheels he recently received by Quesnel RCMP Const. Matt Joyce. (Photo submitted)
B.C. Mountie handing out toy cars to light up children’s faces

‘A lot of times it will be the only interaction they have with the police,’ says Const. Matt Joyce

Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam speaks during a technical briefing on the COVID pandemic in Canada, Friday, January 15, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s ICUs see near-record of COVID-19 patients last week as variant cases double

Last week, Canadian hospitals treated an average of 2,500 patients with COVID-19, daily, up 7% from the previous week

University of Victoria rowing coach Barney Williams at the University of Victoria in Victoria, B.C. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
UVic, women’s rowing coach deny former athlete’s allegation of verbal abuse

Lily Copeland alleges coach Barney Williams would stand close to her and speak aggressively in the sauna

Librarian Katie Burns with the Fraser Valley Regional Libraries poses for a photo in Chilliwack on June 18, 2019. Monday, April 12, 2021 is Library Workers’ Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of April 11 to 17

Library Workers Day, That Sucks! Day, and Wear Your Pyjamas to Work Day are all coming up this week

Robinson Russ, 37, was fatally stabbed on April 4, according to a statement from police. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Vancouver police name victim following city’s fourth homicide of 2021

Robinson Russ, 37, was fatally stabbed Sunday in the Downtown Eastside

A man wears a face mask past the emergency department of the Vancouver General Hospital. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward)
Calls for stricter action in B.C. as COVID-19 variants projected to climb

Jens von Bergmann says the province has taken a ‘wait and see’ approach when early action is needed

Most Read