Suspended Sgt-at-arms Gary Lenz gives an interview from his backyard after being cleared of misconduct in a report by the Supreme Court justice while at his home North Saanich, B.C., on Thursday, May 16, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito

Police Act report finds retired B.C. sgt-at-arms commits neglect of duty

Gary Lenz had announced his retirement earlier this month

British Columbia’s recently retired sergeant-at-arms committed neglect of duty and didn’t tell the truth during an investigation into misconduct at the provincial legislature, a report released Tuesday concluded.

The report by former Vancouver Police Department deputy chief Doug LePard came days after Gary Lenz announced his retirement, saying the damage to his reputation couldn’t be fully repaired after he was placed on administrative leave last year when questions were raised about his spending.

Former clerk of the house Craig James retired last May after former Supreme Court justice Beverley McLachlin concluded he improperly claimed benefits and used legislature property for personal reasons. But McLachlin found Lenz did not engage in misconduct.

READ MORE: B.C.’s sergeant-at-arms Gary Lenz resigns amid spending scandal

Legislature Speaker Darryl Plecas appointed LePard in June to conduct an independent Police Act investigation into allegations Lenz didn’t uphold his duty as a special provincial constable in over the removal of a truckload of alcohol from the legislature in April 2013 by the former clerk.

“I have concluded the evidence in its totality demonstrates that sergeant-at-arms Lenz did not uphold his oath as a special provincial constable and appears to substantiate that sergeant-at-arms Lenz committed neglect of duty for the failure in his sworn duty as a special provincial constable to adequately investigate the misappropriation of liquor by Mr. James,” LePard’s report says.

Lenz said in a statement Tuesday he rejects the findings in LePard’s report.

“I do not accept the conclusion reached by Mr. LePard that I did not give truthful testimony about my decision not to commence a formal investigation in to the removal of alcohol from the legislative precinct by Mr. James in 2013,” Lenz said. “I dispute that finding in the strongest possible terms.”

He said he has always told the truth while employed as sergeant-at-arms and was truthful in his testimony to LePard.

Lenz and James have denied any wrongdoing since they were placed on administrative leave in November 2018.

McLachlin’s report looked at administrative allegations made by Plecas in a report he released in January.

The Speaker alleged that Lenz and James engaged in inappropriate spending on personal items and foreign trips. His report also alleged inappropriate vacation pay outs and retirement allowances.

The RCMP said last November that it was investigating staff at the legislature, but it has not said who is the subject of the probe. Its investigation was aided by two special prosecutors, who have not commented on the case.

ALSO READ: Why would the B.C. legislature need a firewood splitter?

Lenz is a former RCMP detachment commander in nearby Sidney, B.C., who was appointed the legislature’s sergeant-at-arms in 2009. James was appointed clerk of the house in 2011.

The sergeant-at-arms is responsible for maintaining order in the legislative chamber and other areas used for the business of the house.

LePard’s report said he interviewed 14 witnesses, including Plecas, Mullen and Lenz. LePard said he also reviewed documents and some of Lenz’s cell phone records and emails.

The report said Lenz, with his lawyer present, was interviewed on Sept. 5 about the removal of alcohol from the legislature by James.

“He agreed it was a large load of liquor Mr. James took, but said that he assumed he was taking it to the liquor distribution branch for a refund,” the report says.

The report says Lenz told LePard he did not recall having a conversation with a witness who gave evidence that he confronted Lenz about the incident as being wrong and a theft.

“In my view, the evidence is clear that sergeant-at-arms Lenz was not telling the truth when he said orally and in writing to justice McLachlin that he assumed the liquor was being returned for refund and ‘is not aware of any theft of alcohol,’ ” LePard said in the report.

LePard said in the report it was not in his mandate to recommend discipline, but concluded “I find that sergeant-at-arms Lenz’s false oral and written statements to justice McLachlin constitute misconduct that is at the most serious end of the range of misconduct under the Police Act.”

The report, concluded prior to Lenz’s retirement announcement, said disciplinary action would range from suspension without pay to written and verbal reprimands or dismissal.

Dirk Meissner, The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

White Rock to ‘embark on a new direction’ for city’s management

Dan Bottrill has been the city’s chief administrative officer since 2012

‘Slight’ arsenic increase noted in White Rock water: city

Challenges in plant commissioning cited, testing underway

Coastal FC Walking Soccer program takes first steps

South Surrey recreation program held weekly at BMO Coastal Soccer Centre

Event set to light up White Rock’s Memorial Park

Inaugural Festival of Lights will launch on Dec. 6

Advocates push for high-speed rail connecting Vancouver to Seattle, Portland

The bullet train idea could cost an estimated $50 billion

‘We love you, Alex!’: Trebek gets choked up by ‘Jeopardy!’ contestant’s answer

The emotional moment came in Monday’s episode when Trebek read Dhruv Gaur’s final answer

Birthday boy: Pettersson nets 2 as Canucks beat Predators

Vancouver ends four-game winless skid with 5-3 victory over Nashville

Judge rejects Terrace man’s claim that someone else downloaded child porn on his phone

Marcus John Paquette argued that other people had used his phone, including his ex-wife

Petition for free hospital parking presented to MP Jody Wilson-Raybould

What started as a B.C. campaign became a national issue, organizer said

Bargaining to resume in Metro Vancouver transit strike as bus driver overtime ban looms

Both sides might be headed back to the table to prevent new overtime ban

Petition to ‘bring back Don Cherry’ goes viral after immigrant poppy rant

Cherry was fired from his co-hosting role for the Coach’s Corner segment on Nov. 11.

B.C.’s high gasoline prices still a mystery, Premier John Horgan says

NDP plans legislation this month, seeks action from Justin Trudeau

Group walking on thin ice at B.C. lake sparks warning from RCMP

At least seven people were spotted on Joffre Lakes, although the ice is not thick enough to be walked on

VIDEO: Don Cherry says he was fired, not sorry for ‘Coach’s Corner’ poppy rant

Cherry denies he was singling out visible minorities with his comments

Most Read

l -->