Ed John, Hereditary Chief of the Tl’azt’en Nation, is facing four counts of sexual assault.
The offences are alleged to have occurred in Prince George in the 1970s.
On February 22, the B.C. Prosecution Services appointed Michael Klein, QC, as special prosecutor following receipt by the prosecution service of a report to Crown counsel relating to sexual offences alleged to have occurred in and around Prince George in 1974. Klein has approved four counts of having sexual intercourse with a female person without her consent against John. The incidents are alleged to have occurred between March 1, 1974 and September 15, 1974.
Assistant Deputy Attorney General Peter Juk appointed a special prosecutor because he considered it in the public interest to do so, according to a statement issued by the B.C. Prosecution Service. The appointment of a special prosecutor is intended to avoid any potential for real or perceived improper influence in the administration of justice considering the nature of the allegations and the identity of the accused as a prominent Indigenous leader.
John is from Tache and went to Lejac Residential School. John served as an elected councillor of Tl’azt’en Nation from 1974 to 1990 and as elected Chief from 1990 to 1992. From 1984 to 1988 he was Chief of the Carrier-Sekani Tribal Council. From 1992 until 1999 he was Chief Treaty Negotiator for the Carrier-Sekani Tribal Council, a position he resumed in 2006. For his service to Tl’azt’en Nation he was awarded the title of Grand Chief of Tl’azt’en Nation.
In 2000 he was appointed Minister of Children and Families and served until the government changed in 2001.
Klein is a senior Vancouver lawyer in private practice. He was given a mandate to provide legal advice to the RCMP investigators as necessary, conduct any related charge assessment, and assume conduct of the prosecution if charges were approved.
John’s first appearance on this matter is scheduled for December 10 in Prince George Provincial Court.
Announcement of the appointment of the special prosecutor was initially postponed pending completion of the charge assessment and approval of charges.
As this matter is now before the court, neither the B.C. Prosecution Service nor the special prosecutor will be making any further comment or releasing any further information.