Mark Anderson said time consuming and excessive bureaucracy led to the decision to dismiss the petition for a judicial review to remove Duncan Mayor Michelle Staples from office. (File photo)

Petition for judicial review of Duncan Mayor Michelle Staples dismissed

Petitioners claim excessive bureacracy led to too many delays in process

The petition for the Supreme Court of B.C. to conduct a judicial review seeking to remove Duncan Mayor Michelle Staples from office has been dismissed.

Staples and her lawyers had asked the court to have the application dismissed, for a number of procedural reasons, and July 24 was set as the date for that hearing.

But Paul Hildebrand, a lawyer for Staples with the Vancouver-based law firm Lidstone & Company, was contacted in advance of the hearing date by a lawyer representing the petitioners.

RELATED STORY: PETITION FILED TO OUST DUNCAN MAYOR OVER ALLEGED CONFLICTS OF INTEREST

Hildebrand said the petitioners’ agreed to consent to the dismissal of the petition, and a dismissal order will soon be filed.

The petition, signed by Duncan resident Mark Anderson and 10 other unnamed residents, was alleging there are reasonable grounds to believe that Staples is in a number of conflicts of interest over grant payments and directing grant money to organizations in which she is involved or has an interest.

Anderson said the reasons for terminating the petition are all about procedural issues and the bureaucratic obstacles put in the petitioners’ way, and not about the substance of the complaint.

He said that among the issues faced was that the court registry has COVID-19 rules and procedures in place, including the fact that registry staff will not deal with the public face-to-face, making the process more difficult than usual.

RELATED STORY: STAPLES SEEKS TO HAVE PETITION SEEKING HER OUSTER DISMISSED BY THE COURTS

“The registry also told me I had to set up an online account with the BC Courts’ online system in order to get the documents I needed to serve on the other parties downloaded,” Anderson said.

“That proved surprisingly and unexpectedly difficult and took a few days to resolve.”

Anderson said he then had to deal with ServiceBC to get his identification documents verified in person before he could set up the account, but COVID-19 rules made that process difficult as well.

“Getting around these procedural obstacles took more than seven days, so I wound up exceeding the seven-day requirement for document service on the other parties,” he said.

“I consulted a lawyer after the fact and was advised that it would be difficult, if not impossible, to overcome this issue at the BC Supreme Court hearing scheduled for July 24. The lawyer’s advice was to agree to drop the petition due to these procedural issues, so we did.”

Staples said the dismissal of the petition is a just outcome because there was never any merit to the allegations in the first place.

Staples said that under the city’s bylaws, she was entitled to have the legal costs of defending against the petition covered but, in this case, she was able to minimize the cost by having the proceedings dismissed at a relatively early stage.

“Nevertheless, it is unfortunate that valuable city resources need to be allocated to responding to misconceived legal actions,” she said.

“People can certainly be creative in their thinking, but this petition takes time away from the real issues we are all working so hard to address in our city and region. We are a small community supporting each other through the global pandemic, the ongoing opioid crisis and improving our sense of safety and well being as a community. On top of these priorities, there are another 100 conversations going on any time regarding city operations. We are committed to moving forward and working together.”



robert.barron@cowichanvalleycitizen.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

municipal politics

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

McDougall-Percillier gets top Rugby Canada honour

“I’m really stoked about getting this award”

Business notes: WINGS set to close on Aug. 29

A few of the things going on in Cowichan’s business community

Collision knocks over fire hydrant on Ypres Street

Duncan firefighters quick to get situation under control

Pumps not needed on the Cowichan River this year

Wet year so far has resulted in higher water levels

‘Don’t kill my mom’: Ryan Reynolds calls on young British Columbians to be COVID-smart

‘Deadpool’ celebrity responds to premier’s call for social influence support

Captain Horvat’s OT marker lifts Canucks to 4-3 win over Blues

Vancouver takes 2-0 lead in best-of-7 NHL playoff series with St. Louis

Widow of slain Red Deer doctor thanks community for support ahead of vigil

Fellow doctors, members of the public will gather for a physically-distanced vigil in central Alberta

Protesters showcase massive old yellow cedar as Port Renfrew area forest blockade continues

9.5-foot-wide yellow cedar measured by Ancient Forest Alliance campaigners in Fairy Creek watershed

Taking dog feces and a jackhammer to neighbourhood dispute costs B.C. man $16,000

‘Pellegrin’s actions were motivated by malice …a vindictive, pointless, dangerous and unlawful act’

Racist stickers at Keremeos pub leaves group uneasy and angry

The ‘OK’ hand gesture is a known hate-symbol

VIDEO: World responds to B.C. girl after pandemic cancels birthday party

Dozens of cards and numerous packages were delivered to six-year-old Charlie Manning

Expected fall peak of COVID-19 in Canada could overwhelm health systems: Tam

National modelling projections released Friday show an expected peak in cases this fall

Most Read