The BC Prosecution Service has appointed Leonard Doust QC as special prosecutor in the sexual assault case against former Burns Lake mayor Luke Strimbold.
RCMP laid 24 sex-related charges against Strimbold on February 3 but did not publicly disclose the charges until March 2 when the CBC became aware of them. Strimbold is facing eight counts of sexual assault, seven counts of sexual interference, five counts of invitation to sexual touching and four counts of sexual exploitation. None of the allegations have been proven in court.
Strimbold stepped down as mayor in 2016 saying he wanted to spend time with family and go back to school. He was also serving as the membership chair of the B.C. Liberal party until the charges were revealed.
According to a statement issued today by the B.C. Prosecution Service, Assistant Deputy Attorney General Peter Juk felt it was in the public interest to appoint a special prosecutor in this case.
“The appointment of a special prosecutor is intended to avoid any potential for real or perceived improper influence in the administration of justice in light of the nature of the allegations and the identity of the accused as a former elected municipal official with significant connections to the BC Liberal party,” reads the statement from Juk.
Doust is a senior Vancouver lawyer in private practice.
His mandate includes;
- Conducting an independent assessment of the current charges based on the report to Crown counsel submitted by the investigative agency, and making the charging decision he deems appropriate in the exercise of his independent discretion.
- Providing a written report to Juk, with the results of his assessment and the reasons for his decision; and,
- Conducting the prosecution and any subsequent appeal if he determines in the exercise of his discretion that a prosecution is warranted.
Strimbold was released on conditions and is scheduled to appear next on April 6 in Burns Lake provincial court.