Vancouver lawyer Leonard Doust has been appointed special prosecutor for the case against former Burns Lake mayor Luke Strimbold, charged with 24-sex related offences, the B.C. Prosecution Service said Wednesday.
"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 B.C. Liberal party," BCPS said in a statement issued Wednesday.
A private practice lawyer, Doust chaired the Public Commission on Legal Aid in 2010.
Meanwhile, Burns Lake's current mayor and council issued a statement Wednesday saying they are "shocked and saddened" by the revelations.
"We extend our support for the individuals and the families affected, and we are confident that the RCMP and the justice system will work as it should," they continued.
The charges laid against former Burns Lake mayor Luke Strimbold involve four alleged victims, at least three of them under the age of 16, over the span of two years.
Nineteen of the 24 offences are alleged to have occurred while Strimbold was mayor of the northern B.C. town of 2,000; the other five allegedly occurred after his abrupt resignation in September 2016.
Strimbold was arrested on Feb. 3 and released on conditions. His next appearance in court is scheduled for April 6.
- with files from Vancouver Sun