Lawyers for two senior officials suspended from B.C. legislature demands they be reinstated


The lawyers of the two senior officials who were suspended from the B.C. legislature pending an RCMP investigation regarding their administrative duties are demanding they both be reinstated.

Lawyers with Fasken Martineau DuMoulin LLP for sergeant-at-arms Gary Lenz and clerk of the house Craig James sent a letter to the three party house leaders on Friday, saying neither Lenz or James were provided with advanced notice of the motion that they were to be placed on administrative leave and banned from the legislature. Solicitor General Mike Farnworth put forward the motion.

Lenz and James were escorted from the building on Tuesday. Two special prosecutors are overseeing the investigation, which RCMP has confirmed pertains to administrative duties. However, further details about the investigation have not been released by police or members of the provincial government.

In the letter to Opposition house leader Mary Polak, d B.C. Green Party House Leader Sonia Furstenau and Farnworth, the lawyers said the ejection from the legislature appears to have been “a deliberately public and humiliating manner, on the basis of secret allegations.”

“They have been provided with no explanation for this extreme treatment beyond being told that is because of an ‘outstanding investigation,’ the nature of which was not and still has not been disclosed to them,” the lawyers wrote.

The letter states James and Lenz have denied having committed any wrongdoing, deserve to be told what it is alleged that they have done and be given an opportunity to respond to the allegations.

The lawyers also criticized that members of the Legislative Assembly were not given further details about the nature of the allegations.

“Police investigations can, and often do, take long periods of time to conclude, sometimes years. Unless there is something specific in the facts allegedly brought to light in this case that makes it impossible for Mr. James and Mr. Lenz to carry out their duties, the only way that the injustice now unfolding from the passage of the motion can be mitigated pending the outcome of the investigation, and public confidence restored, is for the motion to be rescinded,” the lawyers wrote.

According to the lawyers, Lenz and James will co-operate with the investigation and any “reasonable terms connected” and will recuse themselves from any matters relating to the investigation.

The lawyers said the house leaders, or their legal counsel, have until the end of day to respond.

Late Friday, Polak called for an emergency meeting of the Legislature’s Assembly Management Committee as soon as possible. This is an all-party committee that’s responsible for management of the legislature.


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