Vancouver Sun

Spe­cial pros­e­cu­tor ap­pointed into threats at Nanaimo city hall

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A spe­cial pros­e­cu­tor has been ap­pointed af­ter po­lice be­gan in­ves­ti­gat­ing al­le­ga­tions that the mayor of Nanaimo and a city coun­cil­lor had threats ut­tered against them.

The B.C. pros­e­cu­tion ser­vice said Wed­nes­day that Michael Klein was ap­pointed af­ter an in­di­vid­ual was ar­rested as a re­sult of the al­le­ga­tions. No de­tails were pro­vided.

A spe­cial pros­e­cu­tor’s role is in­tended to avoid any po­ten­tial for real or per­ceived im­proper in­flu­ence in the ad­min­is­tra­tion of jus­tice in light of the al­le­ga­tions and be­cause some com­plainants are elected mu­nic­i­pal of­fi­cials, it said in a state­ment.

Nanaimo Mayor Bill McKay said Tues­day he was con­tacted by the RCMP on Jan. 31 about al­leged threats that were made against him and Coun. Dianne Bren­nan.

McKay said he was not present for the threats. He said the RCMP told him a wit­ness con­tacted them about the threats that al­legedly oc­curred at city hall ear­lier that day.

“The threats were against our lives and our prop­erty,” he said, adding that he didn’t have any spe­cific de­tails. “It was very con­cern­ing, there’s no doubt about that.”

Bren­nan de­clined to com­ment in an email on Tues­day due to “ex­tremely sen­si­tive le­gal and HR con­cerns.”

McKay said the city would con­duct its own in­ves­ti­ga­tion into the threats, which is man­dated by the prov­ince’s work­place safety agency.

Klein is a se­nior Van­cou­ver lawyer who has been asked to pro­vide le­gal ad­vice to RCMP in­ves­ti­ga­tors, as­sess any charges and con­duct the pros­e­cu­tion if charges are ap­proved. He was ap­pointed last Fri­day but it wasn’t an­nounced un­til Wed­nes­day.

The pros­e­cu­tion ser­vice, Klein and the RCMP de­clined to com­ment.

Klein is the sec­ond spe­cial pros­e­cu­tor ap­pointed to in­ves­ti­gate mu­nic­i­pal af­fairs in Nanaimo.

A sep­a­rate in­ves­ti­ga­tion by a spe­cial pros­e­cu­tor into al­le­ga­tions in­volv­ing the city coun­cil ended in Oc­to­ber with­out charges be­ing laid. At the time, the pros­e­cu­tion ser­vice said the mat­ter re­lated to an un­named coun­cil­lor who was ar­rested and re­leased on con­di­tions, but the is­sue was re­solved with­out the need for court pro­ceed­ings.

In De­cem­ber, the city dropped a law­suit against McKay, whom coun­cil­lors ac­cused of leak­ing con­fi­den­tial in­for­ma­tion to an em­ployee. McKay de­nies the al­le­ga­tion.

The city gov­ern­ment has been a dif­fi­cult en­vi­ron­ment for sev­eral years, McKay said.

“I can’t em­pha­size enough how stren­u­ous and strain­ing this has been for our em­ploy­ees, my­self and my fam­ily. You can only imag­ine what they’re think­ing. Af­ter three years of tur­moil, for it to get to this,” he said.

“It’s a very try­ing time and I cer­tainly want to con­tinue to keep a close watch. I’ll con­tinue to be in con­tact with the em­ploy­ees that I’m aware were here at the time to en­sure that they’re safe and try to sup­port them as much as I pos­si­bly can.”

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