wdr-steven-pickard-chatham-councillor

Steve Pickard, 40, represents Chatham, Ont., on the Chatham-Kent municipal council. He spent two nights in police custody in late June. ((Liberal Party of Canada))

Steve Pickard, an Ontario city councillor facing criminal charges, has announced he will not run for the Liberals in the next federal election.

Pickard, 40, was the party's nominee for the riding of Chatham-Kent-Essex in southwestern Ontario. Pickard is also a councillor for the city of Chatham.

He is facing several criminal charges, including forcible confinement, assault and four counts of uttering threats.

Pickard announced he was stepping down as candidate in an email to CBC News on Thursday.

"Although I remain a dedicated Liberal, I need to be with my family and to dedicate all my energies to my current personal situation in order to clear my name. I am confident that I will ultimately be vindicated," wrote Pickard.

"This was a difficult decision for me, but I am committed to mounting a vigorous and aggressive defence — and I can best do so if I am unencumbered by other responsibilities and distractions."

Pickard is banned from contact with six people who cannot be named due to a publication ban.