British Columbia

Surrey Mayor Doug McCallum set to go on trial for public mischief in October

Surrey Mayor Doug McCallum is set to go on trial for alleged public mischief at the end of October, a little more than two weeks after the next municipal election.

Trial is currently scheduled to begin weeks after next municipal election

Surrey Mayor Doug McCallum holds a news conference in Holland Park in Surrey, B.C., on Oct. 27, 2020 (Ben Nelms/CBC)

Surrey Mayor Doug McCallum is set to go on trial for alleged public mischief at the end of October, a little more than two weeks after the next municipal election.

Court records show the first day of McCallum's trial has been scheduled for Oct. 31 in Surrey provincial court. So far, seven days have been set aside for the proceedings.

The Crown and McCallum's legal team have met several times over the past several months as the mayor's case works its way through the courts. McCallum, who has held office since 2018, has kept a low profile throughout.

The trial date will come just 16 days after the mayor goes up for re-election on Oct. 15.

McCallum was charged with one count of public mischief in December over a police report he made several months earlier.

On Sept. 4, McCallum went public claiming a member of the group opposing the city's police transition had run over his foot outside the South Point Save-on-Foods on 152 Street. 

At the time, the Keep the RCMP in Surrey group had been collecting signatures for a policing referendum campaign.

Charges of public mischief involve making false statements with the intention of misleading police officers.

The B.C. RCMP Major Crime Section headed the investigation after taking taking it over from the Surrey RCMP "to ensure there was no potential for real or perceived conflict of interest or improper influence."

The mayor has hired high-profile defence lawyer Richard Peck, who was on Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou's defence team. His legal costs are being covered by the city's taxpayers, which has been strongly criticized by opponents who say he should be footing the bill.

All municipal officials, including employees, officers and members of council, will be compensated for costs relating to any incident that occurred while acting on behalf of the city, according to a local bylaw.

With files from Meera Bains

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