RCMP finds no evidence of criminal wrongdoing by B.C. MLA Jinny Sims

VICTORIA — British Columbia's prosecution service says NDP legislature member Jinny Sims will not face charges following an RCMP investigation and the appointment of a special prosecutor last fall.

In a statement, the prosecution service said Friday the RCMP investigation into allegations of criminal wrongdoing against Sims found no evidence to support the accusations and the investigation has concluded.

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Special prosecutor Richard Peck, who was appointed last October, said there will no charges and there is no further action to take.

Sims resigned as minister of citizens' services following the announcement of Peck's appointment and said she was confident her name would be cleared.

Sims, who also said she did not know what the RCMP investigation was about, continued to sit in the legislature as the member for Surrey-Panorama.

Sims thanked the RCMP and Peck in a statement, saying the investigation was fair and thorough, but the allegations against her were "baseless."

The Opposition B.C. Liberals accused Sims in the legislature of using personal emails to allegedly circumvent the province's freedom of information laws and of writing letters to support visa applications for 10 Pakistani citizens who were on a security watch list.

It is not known if the allegations about Sims's personal email or the reference letters were the subject of the RCMP investigation.

In a statement last October, Sims dismissed "previous public allegations" that were made against her as having "no credibility." She did not say what allegations she was referring to.

Sims has denied any wrongdoing in the use of her emails.

She told the legislature last year that she did not see the final draft of the sponsorship letters, which were sent out with her electronic signature.

"I take responsibility for what happened," she added. "When I became aware of the issue, I immediately had a serious conversation with the staff to ensure that it would not happen again."

Premier John Horgan said he was pleased the investigation by the RCMP and special prosecutor found no evidence to support the allegations against Sims.

"Sims acted in a completely professional way when she stepped aside from her cabinet responsibilities to await the outcome of the RCMP investigation and the special prosecutor's review," Horgan said in a statement. "She co-operated with the investigation throughout despite not knowing who had accused her, nor the nature of the allegations."

The premier said the special prosecutor's process works, but the investigation hung a cloud over Sims personally and with her constituents.

"This is not the only time that baseless allegations have put an MLA's career under a long shadow," Horgan said. "In effect, unwarranted allegations imposed a sentence on an MLA who is found to have done nothing wrong, and never knew the name of the accuser or the substance of the claims."

The public and politicians would be better served by a speedier and more transparent special prosecutor process, he said.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 3, 2020.

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