Former Speaker of B.C. legislature doesn’t recall retirement payout documents: trial

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Published February 14, 2022 at 3:26 pm

VANCOUVER — A former Speaker of British Columbia’s legislature says he doesn’t remember seeing many of the documents outlining retirement and financial benefits linked to a breach-of-trust trial.

Bill Barisoff told the B.C. Supreme Court trial of the former clerk of the legislature Craig James that he only saw some documents connected with benefits after the RCMP began investigating James, and when letters and memos were sent to him by the Crown.

James has pleaded not guilty to two counts of fraud over $5,000 and three counts of breach of trust by a public officer in relation to allegations that he used his position for personal gain.

The trial heard testimony earlier that James told the deputy clerk that based on legal advice Barisoff had determined that James was eligible for the $258,000 retirement benefit. 

James was escorted from the legislature in 2018 amid a police investigation into allegations involving the retirement benefit, travel expense claims and the purchase of a wood splitter and trailer with public funds. 

Barisoff says he was not involved in approving James’s travel expenses, which would have been handled by a committee though he does not recall its name.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 14, 2022.

The Canadian Press

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