An independent special prosecutor has been appointed in connection with the case of an alleged homophobic assault on the executive assistant of Vancouver West End MLA Spencer Chandra Herbert.
Assistant Deputy Attorney General Joyce DeWitt-Van Oosten appointed Vancouver lawyer Mark Jetté to the case March 11, according to a Criminal Justice Branch statement.
“Given the close connection of the case to Mr Chandra Herbert, and his position as a sitting MLA, Ms DeWitt-Van Oosten subsequently concluded that it was necessary to appoint a Special Prosecutor in the matter,” the release states.
Criminal Justice Branch spokesperson Neil MacKenzie says this is the general approach taken in cases like this.
“This is to ensure that there isn’t any potential or any perception that there is any kind of improper influence at play in a case that involves a member of the Legislative Assembly,” MacKenzie explains.
Michael Melvin Williams, 53, of Vancouver is charged with assault and mischief under $5,000 in connection with the Feb 21 assault.
Williams is scheduled to appear in Vancouver Downtown Community Court April 4.
Jetté’s mandate includes reviewing the charges and the investigative report done by the Vancouver Police Department and deciding what charges are appropriate; advising the police should further investigation be necessary; reporting the results of his review to the assistant deputy attorney general; and if warranted, continuing the prosecution and subsequent appeals.