Former B.C. sergeant-at-arms lied to investigators, says new report

B.C.’s former sergeant-at-arms committed “very serious misconduct” by submitting untruthful statements to the former chief justice of the Supreme Court of Canada, a new report alleges.

A partially redacted report on the Police Act investigation into Gary Lenz’s actions was released to the media Tuesday night.

Doug LePard, former deputy chief of the Vancouver Police Department, concluded that Lenz violated his oath as a special provincial constable, including in his dealings with retired chief justice Beverley McLachlin, who was brought in to investigate allegations of misconduct.

“I have concluded that [sergeant-at-arms] Lenz’s untruthful oral and written statements to Justice McLachlin and oral statements to me … constitute very serious misconduct, and that the disciplinary defaults of discreditable conduct and deceit appear to be substantiated,” Lepard wrote.

As a special provincial constable, Lenz is subject to potential discipline under the Police Act, ranging from a verbal reprimand to dismissal. LePard writes that Lenz’s actions fall “at the most serious end of the range of misconduct,” but he does not make a recommendation about discipline.

The bulk of LePard’s report concerns allegations that former legislative clerk Craig James had misappropriated a truckload of booze worth $10,000, and that Lenz had failed to properly investigate the incident.

Doug LePard is the former deputy chief of the Vancouver Police Department. He was brought in to conduct a Police Act investigation into the actions of Gary Lenz. (Michael McArthur/CBC)

The report says that Lenz “was not telling the truth” on multiple occasions when questioned by McLachlin and LePard about the incident.

In a written statement, Lenz said he did not accept the conclusions of LePard’s report and disputes the finding that he was not truthful “in the strongest possible terms.”

“I have always told the truth in every matter related to my employment as [sergeant-at-arms] and I did so in the testimony that I gave to Mr. LePard’s investigation,” Lenz said.

Lenz knew clerk wasn’t returning truckload of liquor

Lenz resigned from his position as sergeant-at-arms last week, nearly a year after he was escorted from the legislature by police amidst allegations of questionable spending.

He and James were both suspended from their roles and placed on administrative leave. The intervening months have seen a steady trickle of misconduct allegations against the two men.

In May, McLachlin released an explosive report that showed multiple examples of misconduct by James. 

The former judge did not find that Lenz had committed misconduct, but wrote that he had improperly claimed benefits and used legislature property for personal reasons.

But LePard’s report comes to a different conclusion, suggesting Lenz was not truthful about the liquor incident in his evidence to McLachlin or in his statements to LePard.

“There is clear and cogent evidence that … Lenz knew that Mr. James was not returning the liquor to the Liquor Distribution Branch, as he later said he had assumed had occurred,” LePard wrote.

James and Lenz were escorted from the legislature and placed on leave in November. (Mike McArthur/CBC)

The liquor was left over from an event and, rather than returning it, James delivered it to the home of former speaker Bill Barisoff, according to McLachlin’s report.

LePard writes that Lenz told the deputy legislative clerk that he was aware of where James planned to take the alcohol.

LePard’s report also says Lenz falsely denied, on multiple occasions, that he had told Speaker Darryl Plecas and his chief of staff Alan Mullen that they should use the liquor incident as “leverage” to get rid of James.

James stepped down in May after McLachlin’s report was released. An RCMP investigation is still underway.

Both Lenz and James have repeatedly denied any wrongdoing.