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 fine for changing lanes or merging over a solid line costs drivers $109 and two penalty points in B.C. (Screenshot via Google Street View)
B.C. drivers caught crossing, merging over solid white lines face hefty fine

Ticket for $109, two penalty points issued under Motor Vehicle Act for crossing solid lines

Saanich council approves of a five-story multi-family development at 300 Gorge Road West and 2900 Tillicum Road. (Rendering via Alan Lowe Architect Inc.)
Saanich approves five-story, mixed-use development for Tillicum area

Plans include 53 residential units, three commercial units at Tillicum Road, Gorge Road West

Coun. Niall Paltiel of Central Saanich has filed a notice of motion directing staff to work with the WSANEC leadership council to develop a program leading toward the “gradual incorporation of traditional WSANEC names for key collector and arterial roads”(Black Press Media File)
Central Saanich councillor wants road signs to use WSANEC names

Coun. Niall Paltiel proposes ‘gradual incorporation of traditional WSANEC names’ for key roads

Royal Roads University president Philip Steenkamp said they are aware of hateful graffiti spray-painted in an area of the forest surrounding the campus. The graffiti in question includes anti-Semitic content and a racial slur towards Black people. (Facebook/Royal Roads University)
Anti-Semitic, hateful graffiti spotted in forest near Royal Roads University

Royal Roads working with West Shore RCMP to remove graffiti “as soon as possible”

A cougar was spotted at Royal Roads University on Sunday, Jan. 24. The sighting was reported on the western edge of the campus. (File photo)
Cougar spotted at Royal Roads University Sunday afternoon

Animal reported on western side of campus near Colwood Fire Department

Terrance Josephson of the Princeton Posse, at left, and Tyson Conroy of the Summerland Steam clash during a Junior B hockey game at the Summerland Arena in the early spring of 2020. (John Arendt - Summerland Review)
QUIZ: How much do you know about hockey?

Test your knowledge of Canada’s national winter sport

A woman injects herself with crack cocaine at a supervised consumption site Friday, Jan. 22, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Drug users at greater risk of dying as services scale back in second wave of COVID-19

It pins the blame largely on a lack of supports, a corrupted drug supply

Wet’suwet’en supporters and Coastal GasLink opponents continue to protest outside the B.C. Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Thursday, February 27, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
‘We’re still in it’: Wet’suwet’en push forward on rights recognition

The 670-km Coastal GasLink pipeline was approved by B.C. and 20 elected First Nations councils on its path

The sky above Mt. Benson in Nanaimo is illuminated by flares as search and rescuers help an injured hiker down the mountain to a waiting ambulance. (Photo courtesy Nanaimo Search and Rescue)
Search plane lights up Nanaimo mountain with flares during icy rope rescue

Rescuers got injured hiker down Mt. Benson to a waiting ambulance Saturday night

Jennifer Cochrane, a Public Health Nurse with Prairie Mountain Health in Virden, administers the COVID-19 vaccine to Robert Farquhar with Westman Regional Laboratory, during the first day of immunizations at the Brandon COVID-19 vaccination supersite in Brandon, Man., on Monday, January 18, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Tim Smith - POOL
Top doctor urges Canadians to keep up with COVID measures, even as vaccines roll out

More than 776,606 vaccines have been administered so far

From the left: Midway RCMP Csts. Jonathan Stermscheg and Chris Hansen, Public Servant Leanne Mclaren and Cpl. Phil Peters. Pictured in the front are Mclaren’s dog, Lincoln and Peters’ dog, Angel. Photo courtesy of BC RCMP
B.C. Mounties commended for bringing firewood to elderly woman

Cpl. Phil Peters said he and detachment members acted after the woman’s husband went to hospital

Dr. Jerome Leis and Dr. Lynfa Stroud are pictured at Sunnybrook Hospital in Toronto on Thursday, January 21, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
‘It wasn’t called COVID at the time:’ One year since Canada’s first COVID-19 case

The 56-year-old man was admitted to Toronto’s Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre

An Uber driver’s vehicle is seen after the company launched service, in Vancouver, Friday, Jan. 24, 2020. Several taxi companies have lost a court bid to run Uber and Lyft off the road in British Columbia. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Taxi companies lose court bid to quash Uber, Lyft approvals in British Columbia

Uber said in a statement that the ruling of the justice is clear and speaks for itself

Nanaimo Regional General Hospital. (News Bulletin file photo)
COVID-19 outbreak declared at Nanaimo hospital

Two staff members and one patient have tested positive, all on the same floor

Most Read