VICTORIA – A former British Columbia government employee accused of making false statements to mislead the provincial privacy commissioner has pleaded guilty in a Victoria court.
George Gretes’ lawyer told the court his client wants to apologize to his former employer and the people of B.C.
He pleaded guilty to one count of making false statements to mislead or attempt to mislead the province’s privacy commissioner under the Freedom of Information and Privacy Act.
The maximum penalty is a $5,000 fine, but the judge said Gretes showed obvious remorse for his decision to lie under oath and ordered him to pay 2,500 in restitution.
Gretes came to the attention of RCMP after B.C.’s former information and privacy commissioner released a highly critical report about the provincial government’s procedures around freedom-of-information requests.
The commissioner concluded in her report that it was likely that Gretes, a former assistant to Transportation Minister Todd Stone, deleted government emails and then lied about it under oath.
Gretes was charged in March, months after the commissioner’s report said Premier Christy Clark’s government routinely frustrated freedom-of-information requests by triple-deleting emails, wiping them from the system.