VICTORIA — A special prosecutor has been appointed in the case of a member of the B.C. legislature after his announcement this week that he has left the governing Liberal caucus over unspecified allegations.
Pat Pimm said in a statement on Monday that the allegations require him to seek legal advice and while the matter is being resolved he has left caucus but will sit as an Independent.
The Criminal Justice Branch said Wednesday that it has appointed Vancouver lawyer Michael Klein as a special prosecutor and it understands that Pimm was arrested and released for an alleged offence.
It said the RCMP must independently determine whether to submit a report to Crown counsel for a charge assessment.
"In light of Mr. Pimm's status as a MLA, the appointment of a special prosecutor is intended to avoid any potential for real or perceived improper influence in the administration of criminal justice,'' the branch said in a statement.
Among other things, the special prosecutor provides legal advice to the investigating agency.
There was no indication in the statement from the Criminal Justice Branch or from Pimm as to the nature of the allegations that have been brought against the politician who represents the Peace River North riding.
Pimm's office declined to comment
"As this matter is before the courts, there will be no further comment,'' Pimm said in Monday's statement.
He declined comment through his office on Wednesday.
The Criminal Justice Branch and the RCMP also declined comment.
"This is done not only to protect the integrity of our investigations but also to protect all citizens that may be subject to a police investigation where no charges are laid,'' a spokesman for the Mounties said in an email.
First elected in 2009
Pimm was first elected to the legislature in 2009 after serving for 12 years on Fort St. John city council and appointed agriculture minister in 2013. He left cabinet last year to seek treatment for colon cancer.
He previously announced he will not seek re-election next year.
This will not be the first time a special prosecutor has been named to review a matter involving Pimm.
In 2011, Pimm was arrested in connection with a domestic incident involving his wife and a special prosecutor was appointed to review that matter. No charge was laid. Special prosecutor Mark Jette announced at the time that he wasn't recommending charges because there was not a substantial likelihood of a conviction.
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