(THE NEWS/files) Local author and environmentalist Scott Magri said assault charges from his past should not keep him from running for Pitt Meadows council.

Don’t let criminal record stop council candidates: Pitt Meadows man

Scott Magri worries old charges might affect him

Scott Magri worries that his past criminal convictions could preclude him from running for Pitt Meadows council as it lobbies the province for changes.

Council is going to the Union of B.C. Municipalities convention this, proposing changes that would require politicians convicted of serious crimes to be removed from office.

The issue came up in October 2017, when former Pitt Meadows city councillor David Murray was convicted of sexually assaulting a teen in 1992.

Council had no legal way to force Murray out of office. He left at the end of January voluntarily after a meeting with Mayor John Becker.

Murray was sentenced to nine months in jail, and would have been forced out of office if he had missed enough meetings. However, he is appealing the verdict and sentencing, and was released from custody.

There is potential under existing laws that a person in his situation could still be serving on a municipal council.

Magri agrees Murray should not be allowed to serve on Pitt Meadows council. However, he asserts that someone with a criminal past should not be precluded from running for council.

In 2011, Magri authored the book Lessons: Crime, Games & Pain, about his criminal past and struggles with addiction. He has three assault charges – one for pushing a store clerk and two for fighting in night clubs.

“Everybody has got a past, and that’s life in my books – you live and learn,” he said. “I’m not hiding anything.”

Magri ran for council in 2014 and received 1,224 votes. Many voters knew him for his environmental work on the Katzie Slough Restoration Project. He wasn’t too far from winning a council seat – Murray was successfully elected with the lowest total on council at 1,851 votes.

“They knew all about my past, and they were going to vote for me anyway,” Magri said of voters.

Magri, who turns 50 in September, said crime is in his past.

He does not believe past convictions, for which has already atoned, should be held against him, or other people who have criminal records.

Becker said that is not the intention of the resolution being proposed by Pitt Meadows council, and which was defeated at the Lower Mainland Local Government Association conference in May.

“It deals narrowly with situations where a person is elected and already in office, and is convicted of an offence,” he said.

“Our resolution would have no impact on Scott Magri’s ability to run for office.”

Becker, a lawyer, believes that when convicted people have served their sentences, they should be able to stand for office.

“The public could make a decision at that time.”

However, he agreed that once this issue of council members is before the provincial government, which alone has the authority to make changes to the Municipal Act, any changes made could be different than those recommended by Pitt Meadows or the UBCM.

The 2018 UBCM convention will be held Sept. 10-14 in Whistler.

Magri said he has not determined whether he will run for council again in 2018.

Just Posted

VIDEO: Rich Coleman won’t rule out running for Surrey mayor

Langley MLA has not made a decision but promises to give the proposal “fair consideration”

Surrey’s first rainbow crosswalk defaced 10 days after installation

City crews are out removing the paint today with a high-pressured steam wand

Surrey council cost taxpayers more than $930,000 in 2017

That includes approximately $116,000 in expenses for Surrey City Council last year

Man shot dead in Cloverdale ID’d as hockey coach and father of two

Murder of Paul Bennett – a respected Peace Arch Hospital worker and ‘champion of sport’ – ‘not random’

Pigs crash yoga class in B.C.

First it was goats, now it’s pigs — you can get downward dog with the whole farm in Aldergrove

Judge dismisses DNA request in Cranbrook triple murder case

Dean Christopher Roberts must appeal directly to the federal Minister of Justice, reads ruling.

Yes, we could use a soft drink tax

NDP rejects useful tax advice because it’s not popular

Canada sweeps China in Pacific Rim Basketball Classic

National men’s team beats China twice over weekend in Vancouver and Victoria

Man facing charges after West End purse-snatching

A 47-year-old Vancouver woman was pushed to the ground

5 to start your day

Robert Pickton transferred to Quebec, Surrey’s rainbow sidewalk vandalized and more

Closing arguments expected in trial for twice convicted Canadian killer

Crown, defence expected to give closing arguments in Millard murder trial

Canadians undertake the world’s most dangerous peacekeeping mission

A dozen Canadian peacekeepers arrive in Mali as yearlong mission begins

U.S. justices won’t hear case of anti-gay marriage florist

The case is regarding whether business owners can refuse on religious grounds to comply with anti-discrimination laws

Most Read

l -->