The woman who was accused by Surrey Mayor Doug McCallum of running over his foot in a Save-On-Foods parking lot is speaking out for the first time, amid new details in the public mischief case against him.
In an emailed statement, Debi Johnstone told Global News that she’d been “falsely” accused when McCallum claimed she’d run over his foot outside the south Surrey grocery store on Sept. 4 as she was collecting signatures against the city’s transition to a municipal police force.
“I remain steadfast in my original statement of innocence. I’m unable to comment further at this time,” Johnstone said in the email.
Three months after the incident, McCallum was charged with public mischief in relation to claims he made about his foot being run over.
He is set to go to trial in October, two weeks after the next municipal election.
Johnstone’s friend, Paul Daynes, acknowledged that it has been a tough time for her.
“I think she has been to hell and back and has shown great strength of character — sticking to her guns and not being intimidated,” he said in an interview.
On Friday, Global News reported details contained in newly unsealed court documents related to McCallum’s public mischief charge, following a successful court challenge.
In the Information To Obtain (ITO) documents, which were the basis for police to get search warrants, investigators state, in part, that the mayor “provided a version of events that has been partially disproved based on the statement provided (by the driver) … and the video surveillance obtained from the Save-On-Foods.”
As part of the investigation, officers obtained a search warrant for McCallum’s running shoes worn the day of the alleged incident. There were also production orders for his medical records, surveillance videos at Save-On-Foods and Peace Arch Hospital, along with media interviews.
“What the ITO indicates is the officers had viewed videotape — some of which they were still seeking, but they had viewed some – and the story on the videotape, the officers believed, did not match up with what Mr. McCallum was saying,” media lawyer Dan Burnett said in an interview on Friday.
Surrey taxpayers continue to pay the mayor’s legal bills.
“This is not right. This is public money and the public deserves to know how much is being spent on these legal bills,” Coun. Linda Annis said.
Through his media relations officer, McCallum said that since the matter is before the courts, he won’t be commenting.
None of the allegations has been proven in court.