No charges against 'Safe Streets' MLA
A special prosecutor has decided not to lay charges against Vancouver-Burrard Liberal MLA Lorne Mayencourt in connection with an altercation involving a panhandler earlier this year.
Mayencourt was responsible for the Liberal government's Safe Streets Act, which outlawed aggressive panhandling.
He had complained to police in February that he had been involved in an confrontation with a panhandler who was yelling obscenities at people.
Special prosecutor Len Daoust says Mayencourt himself acted aggressively towards the man. But he found there wasn't enough evidence against the MLA to lay charges.
"In his opinion, there was insufficient evidence to prosecute Mr. Mayencourt because of conflicting evidence as to what occurred," says Roger Culter, Crown counsel with the Attorney General's office.
Cutler says many witnesses saw the incident, but their accounts were too different to piece together what really happened.
It is clear that Mayencourt called 911 four times on the morning of February 27, to report the panhandler's behaviour.
The special prosecutor's report notes that the 911 operator told Mayencourt to stop following the panhandler. But Daoust wrote that the MLA still followed the man in an aggressive manner.
Mayencourt and the panhandler got into a fight, and the MLA was punched in the face.
The MLA says he doesn't regret what he did, but admits he has learned a valuable lesson.
"And that important lesson is that I am a legislator and not a police officer. And that as much as I want to see our community be safe, I have to let everybody that has that job do that job."
Mayencourt said he had no idea he was the focus of a possible criminal charge arising from the altercation.