Special prosecutor appointed to help investigate triple deletion of emails
Previous prosecutor stepped down over conflict-of-interest concerns
The Criminal Justice Branch of B.C. has appointed Vancouver lawyer Mark Jetté as special prosecutor to assist the RCMP investigation into the triple deletion of government emails.
Last week, another lawyer was appointed as the special prosecutor, but withdrew hours later because of concerns over a possible conflict.
In a statement, the Criminal Justice Branch describes Jetté, the new special prosecutor, who was appointed on Tuesday, as an experienced lawyer in private practice in Vancouver.
The Mounties are investigating after B.C.'s Privacy Commissioner Elizabeth Denham raised concerns about freedom of information irregularities within the provincial government.
In its statement, the Criminal Justice Branch says the investigation is about a request for access to records that was made to the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure, and about the alleged conduct of an individual who was employed as a ministerial assistant at the time of the request.
In her report, Access Denied, released last month, Denham revealed a culture of triple deleting emails within government to apparently skirt freedom of information laws.
The report found a staffer in the transportation ministry, George Gretes, could face charges for lying under oath when he denied he intentionally deleted emails and records connected to the Highway of Tears.
The special prosecutor will work as an independent legal advisor to the RCMP, and conduct an independent assessment of the evidence, before making a decision on whether criminal charges are appropriate.
If a criminal prosecution is deemed appropriate, he will also conduct it and any possible appeal.