British Columbia’s clerk of the legislative assembly has testified her predecessor was initially “skeptical” of a retirement benefit that he later claimed for himself.
The B.C. Supreme Court trial of former clerk Craig James has heard his claim of a nearly $287,000 allowance is the largest sum in a string of payments that prompted allegations that he used public funds for personal benefit.
Kate Ryan-Lloyd, who is the clerk but was James’s deputy at the time of the payment in 2012, told the court James assured her that legal counsel had determined they were both eligible for the retirement payment.
She says James advised her that then-Speaker Bill Barisoff had determined payouts under the program established in 1984 should be completed to reduce financial liability for the legislative assembly.
However, Ryan-Lloyd testified she was surprised to learn she would be eligible because she couldn’t see a logical extension of that liability to James or herself, and she decided to return the nearly $119,000 she received.
James has pleaded not guilty to two counts of fraud over $5,000 and three counts of breach of trust by a public officer.
—The Canadian Press