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Former clerk Craig James charged in connection with B.C. Legislature spending scandal

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Former B.C. legislature clerk accused of lining his own pockets – Dec 18, 2020

Former clerk Craig James has been charged after more than two years of investigation into the B.C. legislature spending scandal.

On Friday, the BC Prosecution Service announced that James has been charged with four counts of breach of trust by a public officer and two counts of fraud in excess of $5000.

Court documents note the alleged offences took place between Sept. 10, 2011, and Nov. 21, 2018.

The charges stem from an explosive report released in 2018 by then-speaker Darryl Plecas, detailing allegations of misspending and misconduct at the legislature that ultimately led to a police investigation into then-clerk James and then-sergeant-at-arms Gary Lenz.

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How prosecuting previous fraud and breach of trust charges has proved tough in B.C – Dec 18, 2020

The two were accused of billing taxpayers for millions in unnecessary and luxurious items and expenses, ranging from $3,200 on a wood splitter and $10,000 on a trailer for wood tools to more than $3,000 on new suits and luggage sets and a $1,000 whale watching trip that was written off as a tsunami awareness exercise.

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Both James and Lenz were placed on paid suspension and fiercely denied the allegations.

Read more: The top 10 standout expenses from Darryl Plecas’ report looking into the clerk and sergeant-at-arms

James announced his retirement in May 2019, following the release of a independent investigation by Beverly McLachlin, former chief justice of the Supreme Court of Canada, that cleared Lenz but found James to have committed administrative misconduct.

Click to play video 'Former B.C. legislature clerk Craig James charged with fraud' Former B.C. legislature clerk Craig James charged with fraud
Former B.C. legislature clerk Craig James charged with fraud – Dec 18, 2020

David Butcher and Brock Martland hired as special prosecutors alongside the RCMP’s investigation.

James made his first court appearance on Friday in Victoria. His next appearance has been set for Jan. 27.