British Columbia

Brian Bonney, Mark Robertson charged under Election Act

Brian Bonney and Mark Robertson have each been charged with three offences under the Election Act in relation to election contributions and expenses.

Police investigation follows complaints from NDP over 2012 byelection strategy

Brian Bonney, a former communications director for the B.C. Liberal Party, is one of men charged in relation to election contributions and expenses under the Election Act. (CBC)

Brian Bonney and Mark Robertson have each been charged with three offences under the Election Act in relation to election contributions and expenses.

Bonney is the former Liberal B.C. government's communications director. Robertson worked for the Liberal party as the director of field operations.

Elections BC says the charges each carry a potential fine of up to $10,000 and/or a year in jail, although a spokesperson said no one has ever yet been jailed in B.C. under those charges.

According to the B.C. Criminal Justice Branch, the charges arise out of conduct alleged to have occurred during the Port Moody-Coquitlam provincial byelection in 2012.

Documents leaked to CBC News by the NDP at the time included emails between a number of B.C. Liberals from their private accounts in October 2011, and suggested the existence of a taxpayer-funded "Port Moody 'Swing Riding' Team."​

Vancouver criminal lawyer David Butcher was appointed by the B.C. Criminal Justice Branch to act as an independent special prosecutor in the case. 

Both Bonney and Robertson are charged with two counts each of "making a political contribution" and one each of incurring "an unauthorized election expense" for providing the services of campaign worker Sepideh Sarrafpour to Port Moody Liberal candidate Dennis Marsden in the 2012 byelection without informing Marsden's financial agent, contrary to the Election Act.

Marsden lost the byelection to former Port Moody mayor Joe Trasolini.

The investigation into the by-election followed a provincial review into what became known as the ethnic outreach scandal.

Several top B.C. Liberal staff members were forced to resign because of their role in the scandal.

The B.C. Liberal party paid $70,000 back to government to cover Brian Bonney's salary for doing party work on taxpayer time.

On mobile? Click here for the emails eaked by the NDP