British Columbia

Former B.C. mayor charged with sexual assault alleged to have occurred while he was in office

The former mayor of Kelowna has been charged with sexual assault in connection with an incident alleged to have occurred while he was still mayor.

Former Kelowna mayor Colin Basran scheduled to make his first court appearance Jan. 24, 2023

Colin Basran was first elected to Kelowna city council in 2011 and then served two terms as mayor from 2014 to 2022. (CBC)

The former mayor of Kelowna has been charged with sexual assault in connection with an incident alleged to have occurred while he was still mayor.

The single charge against Colin Basran was announced Wednesday afternoon by the B.C. Prosecution Service (BCPS). The charge has not been tested in court.

In a statement, the BCPS said the incident allegedly occurred in Kelowna in May 2022. According to a court document, the alleged assault happened "on or about" May 11.

CBC has reached out to Basran for comment.

On Wednesday afternoon, Kelowna Coun. Mohini Singh told CBC she couldn't comment as an elected official.

"But on a personal level, I can say I'm not just shocked, I'm also very, very sad."

The City of Kelowna said it could not comment because the matter is now before the courts.

Special prosecutor appointed

The BCPS said Brock Martland was appointed on Oct. 13 as special prosecutor in relation to the investigation.

The BCPS said the appointment of a special prosecutor is intended to "avoid any potential for real or perceived improper influence in the administration of justice considering the nature of the allegations and the identity of the accused as an elected municipal official."

Martland is a senior Vancouver lawyer in private practice.

Kelowna City Hall. Former mayor Colin Basran has been charged with sexual assault for an incident that allegedly occurred while he was in office. (Winston Szeto/CBC)

The investigation into the alleged incident was conducted by the Kelowna RCMP Investigative Services Department, the BCPS said.

The findings were independently reviewed by the Nelson Police Department before a report was forwarded to Martland.

2-term mayor ran for re-election after alleged incident

Former Kelowna, B.C. mayor Colin Basran at a campaign event in 2022. (Brady Strachan/CBC)

Basran was born and raised in Kelowna and served two terms as the city's mayor. When he was first elected in 2014, he was the youngest person in the city's history to become mayor.

Basran was re-elected in 2018, but in the 2022 municipal election in October was defeated by Tom Dyas. Basran became a Kelowna city councilor in 2011 and served one term prior to becoming mayor.

He is scheduled to make his first court appearance on Jan. 24, 2023, in Kelowna Provincial Court.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jason Peters is a journalist based in Prince George, B.C., on the territory of the Lheidli T'enneh. He can be reached at jason.peters@cbc.ca.

With files from Brady Strachan

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