Ex-Surrey mayor Doug McCallum’s acquittal casts doubt on his investigation


Following the acquittal of former Surrey mayor Doug McCallum for public mischief, one of his longtime political allies is calling for an inquiry into the way his case was handled.

McCallum was charged last year over a police report he made alleging Keep the RCMP in Surrey activist Debi Johnstone broke her foot during an argument outside a South Surrey Save-On-Foods on September 4, 2021.

British Columbia Provincial Court Judge Reg Harris found McCallum not guilty on Monday, ruling that McCallum’s foot had, in fact, been crushed and that he had no intention of inducing the misguided police despite the discrepancies in his story.

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Court finds former Surrey mayor Doug McCallum not guilty of public mischief

Outside the courthouse, the former adviser to the Safe Surrey Coalition. Laurie Guerra said McCallum and his family had been put through an ordeal and suggested the mayor’s plan to cut the RCMP in Surrey may have been linked.

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« I think there should be an investigation as to why a case like this, which didn’t have that threshold, in my opinion, was investigated to begin with, » he said. she declared.

During the trial, Guerra testified for the defense, describing what she said was a campaign of harassment against the mayor and his party over the city’s police transition.

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Ex-Surrey mayor acquitted of public mischief

Attorney Ravi Hira, KC, who was not involved in the case, told Global News that proper protocols were followed before McCallum was charged.

« Here a special prosecutor was appointed, which means he was appointed, he had no stake in the game, he was impartial and he was bound by the very rigorous charge approval system » , did he declare.

“He was required to demonstrate, in order to be satisfied, that there was a strong likelihood of conviction and that it was in the public interest to prosecute. So with this robust system and the independent prosecutor, one would think that the integrity of the system was preserved and in play. Here there was a defense and the defense succeeded.

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As to whether the RCMP should have been involved in the investigation, given a potential conflict of interest with the mayor’s plan to eliminate the force as competent police in Surrey?

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Ex-Surrey mayor intended to mislead, prosecutor tells public mischief trial

« That’s a question that should be asked of the RCMP, » he said.

In a statement to Global News, the RCMP said steps were taken to ensure the independence of the investigation.

« In order to ensure that there was no potential for a real or perceived conflict of interest or improper influence, the BC RCMP Major Crimes Section – Special Projects Unit took into charges Surrey RCMP’s previous investigation, » the force said.

The legal allegations weighed on McCallum in the recent Surrey mayoral election, which McCallum lost to Brenda Locke by less than 1,000 votes.

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Former Surrey mayor Doug McCallum found not guilty of public mischief

Hamish Telford, associate professor of political science at the University of the Fraser Valley, said it was impossible to say how much of an effect the accusation had on the mayor’s prospects, but noted that it is not was just one of many factors in the minds of voters.

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« That may have factored into some people’s decision, but I think there was the larger issue of Doug McCallum’s suitability for the position, » he said.

“He had been very controversial not only for pushing the police issue forward, but also for the way he had handled the town hall, the city council, as well as his plans for things like a new stadium.

Read more:

Ex-Surrey mayor faced campaign of harassment before foot was crushed, lawyer claims

Nonetheless, with McCallum now acquitted of the charge, he said the issue of ratepayers taking on the mayor’s legal bills should be addressed.

« It would seem appropriate to me at least for the city to cover its expenses and I hope the mayor and council will do that and put this behind them, » he said.

Locke previously said the city would work to block public funding of McCallum’s legal bills. In a statement following the not-guilty verdict, the city said it was considering its options on the case.

Meanwhile, Debi Johnstone released a statement to Global News on Tuesday saying her testimony about not running on McCallum’s foot was accurate.

“I remain adamant that I did not run over Mr McCallum’s foot with my car. It was not my request or wish to be involved in legal proceedings like this,” Johnstone wrote.

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In his ruling, Harris said he did not find Johnstone a reliable witness on this point, although he said she may not have realized she had.

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.


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