Desmond Devnich, former constituency assistant to Chilliwack MLA John Martin, pleaded guilty to two counts of breach of trust in provincial court on Oct. 6, 2020 for stealing thousands of dollars from the constituency office. (LinkedIn)

Chilliwack MLA’s former constituency assistant pleads guilty to breach of trust

Desmond Devnich stole thousands of dollars from John Martin’s constituency office

Incumbent Chilliwack provincial election candidate John Martin’s former constituency assistant pleaded guilty in provincial court on Tuesday to stealing thousands of dollars from the constituency office.

Desmond Michael Devnich was with his lawyer Martin Finch appearing by telephone in courtroom 204 on Oct. 6, 2020 to plead guilty to two counts of breach of trust by a public officer.

In reading the charges to Devnich, Judge Dawn Boblin said the first breach of trust involved email transferring funds from constituency bank accounts between July 2013 and February 2017. The second breach of trust involved Devnich’s unauthorized use of a constituency credit card between September 2013 and November 2015.

In accepting his plea, the Boblin asked Devnich if he understood the consequences of pleading guilty, and if he was making the plea voluntarily.

“I’m entering these pleas independently,” the 30-year-old told the court.

Devnich was also charged with overlapping counts of fraud over $5,000, charges that were dropped after he entered the guilty pleas.

Under section 122 of the criminal code, breach of trust by a public officer is an indictable offence a conviction for which comes with a term of imprisonment up to five years.

Martin is the BC Liberal incumbent candidate for the Oct. 24 provincial election, having served as MLA for the riding of Chilliwack since 2013.

In March 2017, Martin told reporters in Victoria that the funds were discovered missing during an implementation of a new system. He said he met with the employee who admitted he had misappropriated the funds, and he was fired.

• READ MORE: Chilliwack MLA John Martin’s constituency assistant fired after admitting to misappropriating money

• READ MORE: Chilliwack MLA’s former constituency assistant charged with fraud, breach of trust

“I’m profoundly disappointed in what has happened as I believe we have an obligation to wisely manage taxpayer money,” Martin told the Progress via telephone from Victoria in 2017.

Prior to that, but connected to the new system, Victoria-Swan Lake MLA Rob Fleming similarly discovered money missing from his constituency office. Fleming’s constituency assistant pleaded guilty to fraud over $5,000 in October 2016.

Special Prosecutor Robin McFee approved the charges to Devnich in September 2019, more than two years after he was fired by Martin.

The details of the case have not yet come out in court, but there are allegations that the amount of money allegedly stolen is substantially higher than the $5,000 threshold for the charges he faces.

The case is next in court on Oct. 13 to fix a date for a sentencing hearing.


Do you have something to add to this story, or something else we should report on? Email:
paul.henderson@theprogress.com

@PeeJayAitch
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

Courtcrime

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Police surround a vehicle with smashed windows outside Langley Memorial Hospital on Sunday evening (Oct. 18) at around 9 p.m., in possible connection to a shooting in Surrey at the intersection of 184th Street and 80th Avenue earlier that evening. (Photo: Curtis Kreklau/South Fraser News Services)
Shooting in rural Surrey leads police to vehicle with smashed windows at Langley hospital

‘It is believed that this is a targeted event and the general public is not at risk,’ Surrey RCMP say

B.C. Conservative party leader leader Trevor Bolin was surrounded by party candidates at a Langley press conference held near a former interurban power station on Sunday, Oct. 18, 2020 (Dan Ferguson/Langley Advance Times)
VIDEO: B.C. Conservative leader says Liberals should come at him over policy, not an old workplace complaint

Rivals released WorkSafe report that found an employee at Tyler Bolin’s business was unfairly fired

Mike de Jong is the Liberal candidate running in the riding of Abbotsford West. (Special to The Star)
Candidate Q&A: Mike de Jong

He is the Liberal candidate running in the riding of Abbotsford West

Mary Foote (right) took part in the Gutsy Walk in August 2020 at the age of 104. She was joined by son in-law Clarence and daughter Edith Olson. (family photo)
Langley woman turns 105 on Oct. 25

In August, Mary Foote took part in the Gutsy Walk to battle Crohn’s and Colitis

(Black Press Media files)
B.C. suburbs could see increased demand for rental units as people work from home

Vancouver’s average monthly rent is the highest out of 35 cities across Canada

Fort St. John councillor Trevor Bolin (B.C. Conservative Party)
BC Conservatives leader fights back after BC Liberals leak 2018 workplace harassment case

Sexual harassment case was connected to employee being terminated, WorkSafeBC found

The BC Ferries vessel the Queen of Oak Bay. (News Bulletin file photo)
‘Buy a boat,’ Horgan advises anti-maskers on BC Ferries

NDP leader John Horgan talks COVID-19 misinformation

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Canadian and American flags fly near the Ambassador Bridge at the Canada-USA border crossing in Windsor, Ont. on Saturday, March 21, 2020. Restrictions on non-essential travel between Canada and the United States are being extended until at least Nov. 21. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Rob Gurdebeke
Non-essential travel restrictions at Canada-U.S. border extended to at least Nov. 21

The restrictions do not apply to those providing essential services in either country

Jordan Naterer, 25, was last seen Saturday Oct. 10. He planned a hike in the Manning Park area, and has not been seen since. Photo Facebook.
Family devastated as search for missing Manning Park hiker suspended

‘It was an extremely difficult meeting with the parents when we had to tell them.’

FILE - Nathan Cullen speaks to media in Smithers, B.C., Friday, February 28, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Horgan, Cullen apologize for NDP candidate’s comments about Haida candidate

Nathan Cullen had made insensitive comments about Roy Jones Jr. Cheexial

Most Read