Surrey, B.C., mayor's court proceedings to begin over criminal public mischief charge
Court proceedings for an embattled B.C. mayor are scheduled begin Tuesday.
Surrey Mayor Doug McCallum was charged with one criminal count of public mischief last month after a report he made to the RCMP that someone had run over his foot in a grocery store parking lot.
Tuesday afternoon will be the mayor’s first court appearance in Surrey.
The mayor will be given written information on the evidence in his case through disclosure and will likely find out what kind of sentence the prosecution is seeking.
According to the criminal code, a charge of public mischief involves falsely reporting crimes to the police, resulting in unnecessary investigations.
The mayor's original complaint was made in September, when members of the Surrey Police Vote campaign were outside a Save-on-Foods in South Surrey.
The group was gathering signatures on a petition to stop the city's transition from the RCMP to a municipal police force.
McCallum campaigned on the transition, and pushed it forward despite resistance from some fellow councillors and Surrey residents.
The mayor alleged one member of the rival campaign intentionally drove into him after a confrontation, prompting an RCMP investigation.
Special prosecutor Richard Fowler was appointed to the case to "avoid any potential for real or perceived improper influence in the administration of justice," the B.C. Prosecution Service said.
Fowler ultimately approved the charge against McCallum on Dec. 10.
McCallum has not said publicly how he plans to plead.
"We are in the middle of changing from RCMP to the Surrey Police Service and as this matter is before the courts, I will not be making any comment," the mayor wrote in an email.
There’s also concerns about who will foot the bill for McCallum’s legal fees after the City of Surrey confirmed it will be the one paying under the city's indemnification bylaw.
Adding to the controversy, McCallum hired high-profile defence lawyer Richard Peck, who represented Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou in her highly publicized extradition case.
An online petition calling for the mayor to pay his own fees has received more than 15,000 signatures.
McCallum’s court appearance is scheduled for 2 p.m. Tuesday, though it’s unclear if he’ll appear in person or via phone.
None of the allegations have been proven in court.
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