British Columbia

David Murray resigns as Pitt Meadows councillor following sexual assault conviction

Mayor John Becker says he he met with Murray on Sunday and asked for his resignation, saying it was the right thing to do for the city.

Mayor John Becker asked for resignation Sunday during meeting

David Murray is a former Pitt Meadows councillor who has lived in the city since 1987 and volunteered on a variety of sports teams and associations. (City of Pitt Meadows)

Pitt Meadows Mayor John Becker says Councillor David Murray has resigned from city council.

Murray was convicted of sexual assault last week and pressure was growing for the politician to give up his seat.

Becker says he asked to meet with Murray over the issue. They met Sunday and Becker said he asked for Murray's resignation.

"He had to know that my demand for his resignation did not come from a place of punishment nor a place of political opportunism, but rather from my concern from what was in the best interests of my community," said Becker in an interview Sunday.

"I can tell you as of [Sunday] David Murray no longer represents the City of Pitt Meadows in any capacity whatsoever."

On his Facebook account, Becker said a meeting will take place Monday morning to finalize the resignation.

Murray was convicted of sexual assault in Port Coquitlam provincial court Oct. 25. A charge of sexual interference was previously stayed by the Crown.

David Murray in council chambers in September of 2017. He was charged with sexual assault in December 2016 and convicted on Oct. 25, 2017. He is scheduled to appear in court for sentencing in January 2018. (CBC)

The sexual assault, which took place nearly 25 years ago, involved a young person whose identity is protected by a publication ban

Court documents say the incidents took place between January and December of 1992.

Murray is not due back in court until January to arrange a sentencing date.

Public pressure

Councillor Tracy Miyashita says she is relieved Murray finally resigned.

"If he had stayed that would send just the wrong terrible message to [the victim] as well as any victim of sexual abuse," Miyashita said.

She thanked Pitt Meadows residents who she says pressed for Murray's resignation.

"I really think it is due to the public pressure that has been out there on social media, the emails that we've been receiving that led to his decision to step down," she said.

Becker says he and his remaining councillors will now work to address what they call a gap in B.C.'s Community Charter — the rules for municipal governance.

Under those rules, elected officials can be removed from office for concerns such as conflict of interest or failing to attend meetings, but not for having a criminal record.

"That is a completely unacceptable situation," said Becker.

Becker is also hoping that Murray's resignation will bring a measure of closure for the victim, who was 14 at the time.