B.C. legislature clerk Craig James speaks to reporters before being escorted out by men in background Tuesday. (Tom Fletcher/Black Press)

B.C. legislature clerk Craig James speaks to reporters before being escorted out by men in background Tuesday. (Tom Fletcher/Black Press)

VIDEO: B.C. legislature clerk, sergeant at arms suspended for criminal investigation

Clerk of the House Craig James, Sergeant-at-arms Gary Lenz on administrative leave

B.C. legislature Clerk Craig James and Sergeant at Arms Gary Lenz were abruptly escorted out of the building Tuesday morning, placed on administrative leave due to a police investigation.

Government House leader Mike Farnworth had little to say about the move after he announced it during debate in the legislature at about 11 a.m.

Alan Mullen, a political advisor to Speaker Darryl Plecas, said there is an ongoing RCMP criminal investigation that James and Lenz were informed about while the motion was being presented in the legislature. Mullen said both are placed on administrative leave with pay, effective immediately.

“I can confirm that there has been a special prosecutor assigned,” Mullen said. “I can confirm that there is an active and ongoing criminal investigation by the RCMP. It would be inappropriate to say anything more, because we don’t want to jeopardize any investigation that the RCMP have ongoing.”

James spoke briefly to reporters after turning in his keys and collecting his personal effects. He said the Speaker, Darryl Plecas, asked him and Lenz to meet him in his office after question period.

“[Plecas] looked quite distressed, and wasn’t able to convey anything to me,” James said. “I asked him if it had to do with any members (MLAs), any staff, was there a threat on this place. He said none of the above, and quite obviously there’s another reason.”

The B.C. Prosecution Service announced Tuesday that lawyers David Butcher and Brock Martland were appointed Oct. 1 as special prosecutors in the case, with two required due to the “potential size and scope of the investigation.” RCMP notified the service Sept. 28 that the investigation was underway.

James is the chief administrator of the legislature, which has an operating budget of about $70 million. He began his B.C. career in 1987 as B.C.’s chief electoral officer and has been clerk since 2011.

Lenz, a former senior RCMP officer, is in charge of legislature security.

Premier John Horgan said he was notified of the situation Monday, but knows nothing more than has been made public. MLAs voted unanimously to support a motion to suspend James and Lenz. The motion specifies that they are not allowed to have access to computer networks or systems or to be in any legislature building, “subject to periodic review by the Legislative Assembly.”


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

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

Just Posted

Some of the folks behind Angel Flight East Kootenay: Todd Weselake is a director, partner and pilot while Brent Bidston is the president and lead pilot of the not-for-profit. Pictured here with their older plane, they hope to get an upgrade for thanks to RDEK funding. (Image courtesy of Angel Flight East Kootenay)
Angel Flight secures RDEK funding for next five years

$100,000 will go to the not-for-profit each year, with the funds to be used to acquire a larger plane

Interior Health reported 33 new COVID-19 cases on March 5. (Black Press Files)
Interior Health reports 33 new COVID-19 cases on March 5

Over 300,000 vaccine doses have been administered provincewide.

Ryan Bavin of Bavin Glassworks in Invermere. Photo: Submitted
Call for entries for Columbia Basin Culture Tour

Deadline for registration for artists and venues is April 15

A nurse performs a test on a patient at a drive-in COVID-19 clinic in Montreal, on Wednesday, October 21, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
36 new cases of COVID-19, one death in Interior Health

The number of active cases in the region is at 366

Michelle Thorne of Fernie Distillers with some Griz-themed cocktails available for Griz Days 2021. (Scott Tibballs / The Free Press)
Griz Days comes to town

While mostly virtual, there’s Griz-themed food and drink around town

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C. on the COVID-19 situation. (B.C. government)
Dr. Bonnie Henry predicts a ‘post-pandemic world’ for B.C. this summer

‘Extending this second dose provides very high real-world protection to more people, sooner’

Malawian police guard AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines after the shipment arrived in Lilongwe, Malawi, Friday March 5, 2021. Canada is expecting its first shipments of AstraZeneca vaccine next week. (Associated Press/Thoko Chikondi)
B.C.’s daily COVID-19 cases climb to 634 Friday, four more deaths

Currently 255 people in hospital, 66 in intensive care

A crashed helicopter is seen near Mt. Gardner on Bowen Island on Friday March 5, 2021. Two people were taken to hospital in serious but stable condition after the crash. (Irene Paulus/contributed)
2 people in serious condition after helicopter goes down on Bowen Island

Unclear how many passengers aboard and unclear where the helicopter was going

Surrey Pretrial in Newton. (Photo: Tom Zytaruk)
B.C. transgender inmate to get human rights hearing after being held in mostly male jail

B.C. Human Rights Tribunal member Amber Prince on March 3 dismissed the pretrial’s application to have Makayla Sandve’s complaint dismissed

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Supporters rally outside court as Pastor James Coates of GraceLife Church is in court to appeal bail conditions, after he was arrested for holding day services in violation of COVID-19 rules, in Edmonton, Alta., on Thursday March 4, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
‘Law remains valid:’ Pastor accused of violating health orders to remain in jail

The Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms is representing the pastor

The Netflix logo on an iPhone. B.C. delayed imposing sales tax on digital services and sweetened carbonated beverages as part of its response to COVID-19. Those taxes take effect April 1, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, Matt Rourke
B.C. applies 7% sales tax on streaming, vaping, sweet drinks April 1

Measures from 2020 budget were delayed due to COVID-19

Chief Don Tom of the Tsartlip First Nation was outraged after Green MLA Adam Olsen revealed on social media that the community had been experiencing a COVID-19 outbreak – a fact the First Nation had chosen to keep private to avoid racist backlash as experienced by the Cowichan Tribes when an outbreak was declared there in January. (Black Press Media file photo)
B.C. First Nation ‘outraged’ after Green MLA reveals COVID-19 outbreak

Tsartlip First Nation chief shares concerns about racist backlash, MLA apologizes

A lawyer wears a face mask and gloves to curb the spread of COVID-19 while waiting to enter B.C. Supreme Court, in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, Aug. 28, 2020. British Columbia’s highest court has sided with the land owner in a dispute over public access to public land. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. high court finds in favour of large landowner in fight over access to pair of lakes

The Nicola Valley Fish and Game Club launched legal action after the cattle company blocked road and trail access

Most Read