B.C. mayor's allegation woman hit him with car sparks mischief probe over possible false statements
No charges have been laid so far in a police matter that began when Surrey, B.C., Mayor Doug McCallum claimed a woman drove into him on purpose – but the investigation has taken a new turn, with the RCMP probe now looking at the crime of public mischief and the possibility that someone made false statements to police.
The interaction happened Sept. 4, at a supermarket in South Surrey.
In an interview with CTV News two days later, McCallum said he and a woman in a convertible Ford Mustang exchanged words, and he alleged she then drove into him on purpose.
“So, she floored her car from there, and at the same time that she floored it, she turned right and she hit my hip and knee as she was turning right,” he said at the time. “I hadn’t moved. I just was standing there. And (she) ran over my foot.”
Shortly after his interaction with the driver, McCallum also exchanged words with Ivan Scott, head of the Keep RCMP in Surrey campaign, in the same parking lot.
The driver and Scott were at the Save-On-Foods to gather signatures for a petition trying to force a referendum on the city’s transition to a municipal force.
McCallum was elected on a promise to cancel the city’s contract with the RCMP and move to a municipal policing model. He has had several other public exchanges with those staunchly opposed to the plan.
In the interview with CTV News, the mayor said he went to hospital for x-rays, had ongoing pain and soreness, and reported the alleged assault to police.
“Well, the police are looking at laying charges,” he said. “So, we’ll see what they come as far as that is concerned.”
A little over a week later, RCMP served CTV News with a search warrant demanding we hand over the full interview with McCallum along with all other relevant video.
The documents cite Section 140(1)(a) of the Criminal Code, which says: “Every one commits public mischief who, with intent to mislead, causes a peace officer to enter on or continue an investigation by making a false statement that accuses some other person of having committed an offence.”
The driver, who has asked not to be identified, denies hitting McCallum with her car.
“We exchanged heated words,” she said in a statement. “He told me I didn’t have the authority to be there and (he) was going to call bylaws … I then asked him a few more times to resign. At no point did I hit him with my car.”
Vancouver-based criminal lawyer Sarah Leamon says the offence of public mischief with intent to mislead is very serious and carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison, if Crown prosecutors decide it is an indictable offense.
She also told CTV News the original allegation made by McCallum that somebody intentionally drove into him could carry significant penalties if charges were deemed appropriate and proven in court.
"(It’s) an extremely unusual situation, so I'm interested to see what happens from here on out,” Leamon said. “But you know, the jeopardy here that could be faced by either party is quite significant."
On Thursday, McCallum declined an interview request to talk about the latest developments arising from the interaction in the parking lot.