Former legislature clerk Craig James’ expensing of clothing purchases bought him in difficulty
The responsible verdict for disgraced former legislature clerk Craig James reinforces a lesson I have learned over the a long time.
Anytime I get outfits on vacation, I regret it the moment I test them on at residence. Mainly because they search silly.
That hip-seeking white shirt that didn’t in good shape but I purchased in any case simply because Donald Duck was embroidered on the front?
It looked good in Maui. But when I modelled it at dwelling it turned into a trend criminal offense. What the hell was I contemplating?
James may well now have a comparable circumstance of buyer’s regret. Apart from the Brooks Brothers dress shirts from Vancouver and the suit he dinged us for at Ede & Ravenscroft in London turned into real crimes.
And the verdict was delivered by a B.C. Supreme Court docket justice, not my spouse.
He was cleared this week on an assortment of other raps arising from the costs scandal that former speaker Darryl Plecas detonated in the legislature a few a long time in the past.
Just one of them associated a quarter-million greenback prolonged- provider award that James extracted from the previous boys club that ran the joint at the time.
It was developed for a few preceding officials who were mostly on retainers, not whole reward employment contracts. James obtained sizeable worker benefits as a result of his vocation at the legislature, but worked really hard to get that award as properly.
Justice Heather Holmes found he was in an obvious conflict of desire and breached the normal of perform in a significant and marked way by advising the speaker on a make a difference that was to his reward.
The justice concluded he likely was not entitled to the award, but may well have been led to think he was by questionable legal information. So there was no breach of believe in.
The 64-site verdict recounts his behavior of placing an extraordinary range of buys on overseas outings on his cost account.
But all the examples fell limited of the felony threshold, she ruled.
Other than the dresses. It’s the haberdashery angle that captures the flavour of the total saga. And it rests on one particular apparent stage. You really do not want a CSI Victoria squad to figure this out.
The clerk wears a gown. Why must we spend for what they dress in below the gown, when the career pays far more than $300,000 a yr — and arrives with the robe? So billing the legislature for other apparel and justifying it with phony, spurious factors stretches the price account to the snapping place.
He billed the taxpayers $1,887 for these distinct buys with memos saying they have been for assembly “chamber apparel,” and “chamber uniform.”
But the Justice Holmes concluded he did so “dishonestly.”
She located it was a phony implication and strengthened a misrepresentation that they were operate bills.
“James’s perform in actively misrepresenting his purchases, in purchase to receive reimbursement he understood he was not entitled to, must be noticed as a marked departure from the (anticipated) common of conduct.”
There had been other outfits shopping excursions expensed to taxpayers, including a $624 pair of shoes, that look suspect. But the justice said there wasn’t plenty of proof on individuals buys.
He may have thought they have been legit.
(“That motive applies also to the suspenders that Mr. James acquired and is not undermined by the simple fact that the suspenders were being blue/pink and experienced a palm tree design, as they would not have been obvious below the gown.”)
James’s defence legal professionals seem to have recognized that charging the community for what he wore less than the gown was likely to be a issue. So they argued his claims might have anticipated a modernization of the table officers’ attire to business fits, fairly than gowns.
There was proof that James advocated for this kind of a improve. But the justice mentioned it was firmly rebuffed and there was no proof that notion was energetic at the time.
As for the preposterous legislature wood splitter, which became a nationwide icon for the full scandal, the argument that it was a crime failed. The splitter wound up in James’ yard for a year, was used evenly, and never ever built it to the legislature right until just after he was suspended.
But there was evidence that there was nowhere else to retail store it, so no criminality was identified.
Not to increase a sore issue, but for what it represents as a fall from grace, it belongs in a museum.