Special prosecutor appointed in assault of B.C. Crown prosecutor

Click to play video: 'Two women attacked, including B.C. Crown prosecutor'
Two women attacked, including B.C. Crown prosecutor
Two women, including a B.C. Crown counsel lawyer, were victims in what are being called a pair of random attacks near a Vancouver courthouse. Rumina Daya reports – Feb 2, 2024

The province has appointed a special prosecutor to oversee charges related to the assault of a Crown prosecutor outside the B.C. provincial court in downtown Vancouver earlier this month.

Vancouver police said two women, one of whom was a prosecutor, were randomly attacked near the 222 Main St. facility on Feb. 2.

The prosecutor was being escorted by an unarmed security guard as a part of a “safe walk” program when she was punched in the face, sources told Global News.

Click to play video: 'Private security company fired after attack on Crown laywer in Vancouver'
Private security company fired after attack on Crown laywer in Vancouver

Kenyon Thomas Lavallee, 27, has since been charged with two counts of assault.

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In a Tuesday statement, the B.C. Prosecution Service said Chris Johnson, K.C., had been appointed as a special prosecutor to oversee the case.

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“Mr. Johnson’s mandate includes: to provide legal advice to the VPD investigators as necessary, conduct charge assessment, and assume conduct of the prosecution,” the statement reads.

“The appointment of a Special Prosecutor was made to avoid any potential for real or perceived improper influence in the administration of justice given that one of the alleged victims is employed as Crown Counsel.”

Click to play video: 'Attack raises new questions about Vancouver court’s viability'
Attack raises new questions about Vancouver court’s viability

The assault spurred considerable outcry, including from Premier David Eby, who said he was “profoundly disturbed.”

The B.C. Crown Counsel Association, which represents the province’s some 450 Crown prosecutors, said the incident raised serious questions about public safety at the courthouse, and has called for the facility to be moved out of the Downtown Eastside.

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Lavallee’s next appearance is scheduled for Wednesday, at the same provincial court where he is accused of committing the assault.

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