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Craig James, former B.C. legislature clerk, guilty of fraud, breach of trust

Click to play video: 'Former clerk of B.C. legislature found guilty of fraud and breach of trust' Former clerk of B.C. legislature found guilty of fraud and breach of trust
Former clerk of the B.C. legislature Craig James has been found guilty Thursday of fraud and breach of trust. Richard Zussman has the breaking news details. – May 19, 2022

The B.C. legislature’s former clerk, who was accused of misspending money from the public purse, has been found guilty of fraud and breach of trust.

Craig James pleaded not guilty to two counts of fraud over $5,000 and three counts of breach of trust by a public officer based on allegations of misspending stemming from his time serving as clerk between 2011 and 2018.

On Thursday, the judge found him not guilty of all other similar charges related to a $258,000 retirement fund and the use of a wood splitter.

Associate Chief Justice Heather Holmes, of the B.C. Supreme Court, said James dishonestly described clothing he purchased as work attire when he knew it was not.Holmes said he breached the standard of conduct expected of a public official and his purpose was a dishonest one to benefit himself.

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Read more: Crown lacks evidence in proving case against former B.C. legislature clerk, says defence

Click to play video: 'Notorious wood-splitter focus of testimony at trial of former B.C. legislature clerk' Notorious wood-splitter focus of testimony at trial of former B.C. legislature clerk
Notorious wood-splitter focus of testimony at trial of former B.C. legislature clerk – Feb 2, 2022

Crown prosecutors argued during the trial that James used his position, which they likened to the CEO of the legislative assembly, to take advantage of weaknesses in policy to enrich himself.

However, the defence said James was transparent with each of his claims, which were overseen by multiple responsible individuals who raised only “a handful of questions” over half a decade and never lodged a complaint.

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-with files from The Canadian Press

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