Surrey Mayor Doug McCallum’s next court appearance on his public mischief charge is set for March 8, after a two-minute hearing in Surrey provincial court on Tuesday morning.
“We’ve had some discussions, disclosure is ongoing, a bulk of the disclosure has been made,” Special Crown prosecutor Richard Fowler told the judge.
The defence requested that the case be put over to March 8.
“I don’t object to that,” Fowler told the court.
Defence lawyer Lee Vandergust appeared on behalf of McCallum and his counsel Richard Peck, QC.
“We recently received additional disclosure of materials as of last week and we are still awaiting further documents,” she told the court.
McCallum is charged with one count of public mischief contrary to Section 140(2) of the Criminal Code, stemming from an encounter last September between himself and a group that was gathering petition signatures outside the South Point Save-On-Foods store in South Surrey for a referendum on the policing transition. The mayor claimed a car ran over his foot.
McCallum’s first date in Surrey provincial court on Jan. 25 lasted about three minutes with no plea taken. Fowler told Judge Robert Hamilton, regional administrative judge for the Fraser Region, that he plans to proceed summarily and requested that the matter be put over to Feb. 22.
Meantime, the Surrey Police Vote campaign is urging McCallum to start paying his own legal bills. Many Surrey residents have expressed outrage that Surrey taxpayers are on the hook for them.
“The longer this criminal case is dragged out, the greater the legal fees Surrey residents will be on the hook for paying,” Surrey Police Vote campaign strategist Bill Tieleman stated in a press release Friday. “Surrey taxpayers should not be footing the mayor’s legal bills on this matter. It’s a waste of time, money, and frankly, is plain embarrassing for the City of Surrey.”
The mayor declined to comment.
“Surrey residents still don’t know how much this has cost them so far, nor do they have any idea of the potential total,” Tieleman noted.
“Where is that money coming from? What critical services in and around the City will be impacted by this, and what impact will these costs have on the city budget? We find ourselves with more questions than answers.”
The Surrey Police Vote is a grassroots group that unsuccessfully petitioned the provincial government to hold a binding referendum on the transition to the Surrey Police Service from the Surrey RCMP police transition.
Tieleman told the Now-Leader on Friday that while McCallum is “absolutely” entitled to due process, as is anyone else accused of a crime, he noted McCallum could relinquish his reliance on Surrey taxpayers to pay his legal costs.
“I mean, he applied to be indemnified and in our opinion of course he shouldn’t be indemnified because it was on personal business and he got involved in things that had nothing to do with being mayor,” Tieleman charged. “So he could relinquish his indemnification and start paying his own legal bills right now, and that’s what we think he should be doing because this is going to be very expensive.”