B.C. judge issues decision in fraud, breach of trust case of former legislature clerk

VANCOUVER – The former clerk of the British Columbia legislature is expected to hear a judge’s ruling today following a Vancouver trial that ended in March.

Associate Chief Justice Heather Holmes, of the B.C. Supreme Court, is set to announce the fate of Craig James, who has pleaded not guilty to two counts of fraud over $5,000 and one count of breach of trust for alleged improper spending.

Crown lawyers have argued James took advantage of weak policies that allowed him to claim a $258,000 retirement allowance, make personal expense claims and buy for the legislature a wood splitter and trailer, which he kept at his home.

They told the court James operated as the CEO of the legislature and had an obligation to follow proper financial guidelines after being informed of shortcomings in standards.

Defence lawyers have said then-Speaker Darryl Plecas was among at least three others who gave approval for equipment that their client expensed in case of an earthquake or other natural disaster.

James resigned in 2019, months after RCMP escorted him off the grounds of the legislature and he was put on administrative leave from a job he’d held for eight years.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 19, 2022.

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