By Adrian MacNair
The RCMP investigation into alleged breach of trust and breach of the Community Charter surrounding Coun. Jenny Stevens and former councillor Ron Taylor will not result in charges, according to a statement read out by Stevens at council Monday evening.
Sgt. Peter Thiessen, senior media relations officer for the Lower Mainland District Regional Police Service, confirmed on Wednesday that RCMP documentation was reviewed by Crown Counsel, who decided no charges would be approved.
As neither Stevens or Taylor were charged, police did not officially release their names in the press release.
“The RCMP does not typically make public announcements when there are no charges approved,” said Thiessen in a statement. “However, because of the nature of the allegations, and the fact that the incident received wide media coverage, we felt it was important to make an official statement upon the conclusion of this investigation.”
Stevens’ and Taylor’s computers were seized by the RCMP in May over suspicions by council that in-camera information about the Public Inspection Safety Team (PSIT) review had been leaked to Taylor.
Although Taylor admits he released the leaked information publicly, he said the decision to hire a “spin doctor” to handle the PSIT review should never have been made behind closed doors.
Taylor added that this admission does not mean the information came from Stevens.
Taylor said the Mounties never made an official statement about the investigation and is unaware of any other councillors who have had their computers confiscated by police.
“We never did see what provoked the search warrant,” said Taylor.
When asked, each of the councillors and the mayor said no computers were taken from them.
Three computers were taken from Taylor’s home, which he said was distressing because initially he was told by police he might never get them back.
“What terrified me was I had data on that machine, which they would not let me at, which I desperately needed,” he said, referring to important medical test results he had stored on his computer.
He also had 20 years of genealogical research saved as well.
Political activist Larry Nundal asked council Monday whether they would now apologize to Stevens. Coun. Paul Horn answered that council would be reviewing the statement provided by Stevens.
Mayor James Atebe said the public should not assume the RCMP investigation is concluded. The initial decision to involve the police was made unanimously by council, including Stevens, to find the source of the in-camera leak, which remains unresolved.
“We can’t come to conclusions until the community is given the full information and that remains in the hands of both the RCMP and the Crown Counsel,” he said.
PSIT was put on indefinite review in January, but that examination will come to a complete stop, pending the outcome of a lawsuit filed against the district, according to a document submitted to council Monday.