Statement from BC Prosecution Service: Appointment of Special Prosecutor
Nov. 14, 2019
Victoria – The BC Prosecution Service (BCPS) announced today that on February 22, 2019, Michael Klein QC was appointed Special Prosecutor following receipt by the BCPS of a Report to Crown Counsel (RCC) relating to sexual offences alleged to have occurred in and around Prince George in 1974. The suspect identified in the report was Edward John, Hereditary Chief of the Tl’azt’en Nation.
Assistant Deputy Attorney General Peter Juk QC (ADAG) appointed Mr. Klein Special Prosecutor under section 7 of the Crown Counsel Act because he considered it in the public interest to do so. The appointment of a Special Prosecutor is intended to avoid any potential for real or perceived improper influence in the administration of justice considering the nature of the allegations and the identity of the accused as a prominent Indigenous leader.
Mr. Klein is a senior Vancouver lawyer in private practice. He was given a mandate to provide legal advice to the RCMP investigators as necessary, conduct any related charge assessment, and assume conduct of the prosecution if charges were approved. Mr. Klein has now approved four counts of having sexual intercourse with a female person without her consent contrary to section 144 of the Criminal Code of Canada R.S.C. 1970 Chap. C-34. The incidents are alleged to have occurred between March 1st, 1974 and September 15th, 1974. Mr. John’s first appearance on this matter is scheduled for December 10, 2019 in Prince George Provincial Court, file number 73270.
Announcement of the appointment of the Special Prosecutor was initially postponed pending completion of the charge assessment and approval of charges. Following consultation with the Special Prosecutor and considering the specific circumstances of the case, the BCPS concluded that issuing a Media Statement announcing the appointment was appropriate at this time.
As this matter is now before the court, neither the BCPS nor the Special Prosecutor will be making any further comment or releasing any further information.