Dobell pleads guilty in court
Former adviser to premier must pay fine, Crown argues
Premier Gordon Campbell's former deputy minister pleaded guilty on Wednesday to violating British Columbia's lobbying legislation, but he'll have to wait another day to hear his punishment.
Provincial court Judge Joseph Galati said he'll need time to review whether Ken Dobell gets an absolute discharge.
Dobell has agreed to the allegations and said he'll pay back the almost $7,000 he earned for the consulting job. However, he faces a possible additional fine of up to $25,000.
His lawyer and the Crown agree the violation was an error in judgment, but they disagree on a sufficient sentence.
Dobell retired as deputy minister to the premier in 2005, but he continues to work actively as a lobbyist and to hold high-profile positions such as being a member of the Vancouver Organizing Committee for the 2010 Olympic Games.
Dobell's lawyer argued his client should have a complete discharge, because he will pay back the money he earned. As well, Dobell thought he was doing nothing wrong, because the way the law was worded was difficult to understand.
But the Crown said Dobell should pay a nominal fine of between $500 and $1,000, because he violated the Lobbyist Registration Act.
Meanwhile, the NDP critic for the attorney general, Leonard Krog, said the fact that Dobell continues to lobby the provincial government after pleading guilty illustrates the ineffectiveness of the law.
Dobell was charged after a special prosecutor looked into lobbying he did with the province on behalf of the City of Vancouver for a social housing project. The prosecutor concluded Dobell failed to register as a lobbyist as required under the act.