Former Chilliwack MLA John Martin’s constituency assistant is set for sentencing Wednesday (March 31) for stealing thousands of dollars from the constituency office.
Desmond Devnich was fired by Martin after the funds were discovered missing in 2017.
Appearing in court on Oct. 6, 2020, Devnich pleaded guilty to two counts of breach of trust by a public officer.
In reading the charges to Devnich, Judge Dawn Boblin said the first breach of trust involved email transferring funds from constituency bank accounts between July 2013 and February 2017. The second breach of trust involved Devnich’s unauthorized use of a constituency credit card between September 2013 and November 2015.
In accepting his plea, Boblin asked Devnich if he understood the consequences of pleading guilty, and if he was making the plea voluntarily.
“I’m entering these pleas independently,” the 30-year-old told the court.
Devnich was also charged with overlapping counts of fraud over $5,000, charges that were dropped after he entered the guilty pleas.
Under section 122 of the criminal code, breach of trust by a public officer is an indictable offence a conviction for which comes with a term of imprisonment up to five years.
Martin served as MLA for the riding of Chilliwack first winning the seat for the BC Liberals in 2013, retaining the seat as the incumbent in 2017, but then losing the seat to the NDP’s Dan Coulter in the 2020 provincial election.
Special Prosecutor Robin McFee approved the charges against Devnich in September 2019, more than two years after he was fired by Martin.
The details of the case have not yet come out in court, but there are allegations that the amount of money allegedly stolen is substantially higher than the $5,000 threshold for the charges he faces.
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