The Crown is seeking a peace bond against a Nelson man whom MLA Michelle Mungall says threatened and harassed her.
Donovan Carter, who appeared in court Thursday to contest the application, is free on conditions to stay away from Mungall.
Carter’s lawyer, Blair Suffredine — a former Nelson-Creston Liberal MLA — asked for the case to be quashed on a technicality over how the information was sworn.
However, Judge Lisa Mrozinski granted the Crown’s request for a delay and put the matter over to August 9.
Although Mungall was in the building Thursday, she did not appear in the courtroom.
After the hearing, she told the Star: “Every person regardless of what they do for a living has the right to feel safe in their job. I think people would want me to feel safe as well. [Carter’s] behaviour has been harassing and threatening.”
Mungall says she complained to Nelson police after a series of incidents over the fall and winter in person, by phone, and email, which made her fear for her safety and that of her staff. She says the decision to go to police not made lightly.
“This is out of the ordinary. A line has been crossed,” Mungall said. “I’m always open to criticism and feedback. It’s absolutely fair for people to disagree with me on policy matters. People have gotten angry before, but it’s not directed at me as a person over a long period of time. Nor has it escalated.”
Mungall says there have been no further incidents since she went to police, although she encountered Carter at Market Fest on Friday. “He announced he was leaving and I was glad he adhered to the [conditions].”
Outside court, Suffredine said the case stemmed from “political protests,” and that Carter felt Mungall was not moving quickly enough on issues he raised while “wasting time on things like the Jumbo Pass, which was not in the riding. Some of the ways he did that, it appears she interpreted as possibly being a threat. It’s all imagination. There’s nothing direct.”
Suffredine said the incidents included recorded phone messages and Carter’s attendance at a public meeting where he held up a sign.
Suffredine added he hasn’t heard of such a situation before: “During the time I was an MLA [2001-05], I never considered bringing an application like this, although there were lots of contentious matters and lots of people who said pretty rude things to me.”
Suffredine says at one point he was under police protection after receiving an anonymous death threat. “There are always threats against MLAs. This isn’t a job for sissies,” he says.
Carter, who says he is moving to Victoria in July, said he hoped the case is “over sooner than later for everybody concerned. Better for me, better for Ms. Mungall, and we can move on.”
He said he understands “what politicians have to put up with,” but “disagrees wholeheartedly with the accusations” that led to the peace bond application.
He said he would obey the conditions he is under.