Ahead of Surrey Mayor Doug McCallum’s first court appearance, the Keep the RCMP in Surrey group rallied outside of Surrey Provincial Court.
McCallum, whose first court appearance was scheduled for today (Jan. 25) at 2 p.m. and lasted about three minutes, is facing a charge of public mischief, a Criminal Code offence that carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison.
Surrey taxpayers are on the hook for McCallum’s legal fees – one reason the KTRIS campaign planned the rally.
KTRIS campaign manager and strategist, Paul Daynes, said the group wanted “to be visible” and keep the issue in the public eye.
“We want to send a message that we feel that (it) is totally inappropriate for the taxpayer to be funding Mayor McCallum’s defense in this case, whether he’s guilty or not is for the court to determine, but the incident clearly took place on his time, not city time,” explained Daynes.
Asked how it felt to be there on the day of McCallum’s first court appearance, Daynes said, “The wheels of justice grind slowly, but it’s encouraging that they are actually moving now. We hope that this will be resolved and things can move on in a little bit more common-sense fashion.”
There were about a dozen or so KTRIS protestors outside of court over the course of an hour, leading up to McCallum’s appearance.
The signs mostly called for McCallum to pay his own legal fees, including one that said he should “foot” his own bill.
McCallum was charged with one count of public mischief contrary to Section 140(2) of the Criminal Code on Dec. 10 after a months-long investigation after he alleged his foot was “run over by a vehicle.”
The B.C. Prosecution Service announced the charge roughly three months after an investigation was initiated by a complaint from the mayor.
On Sept. 4, McCallum alleged he was “run over by a vehicle” during an altercation with Surrey RCMP supporters, who were collecting petition signatures for the referendum on the policing transition, outside of the South Point Save-On-Foods in South Surrey.
Two days, later Surrey RCMP asked for witnesses to the alleged incident. Then on Sept. 13, Assistant Deputy Attorney General Peter Juk, QC, received a request for assistance by the RCMP.
On Sept. 20, the B.C. Prosecution Service announced a special prosecutor had been appointed to advise the RCMP in its investigation.
– With files from Tom Zytaruk, Aaron Hinks