Undated file photo of Serena Oh.

Undated file photo of Serena Oh.

Failed challenge of Langley City byelection cost $27,000 (Updated)

Supreme Court of Canada dismissed challenge of Langley byelection

A legal battle over the outcome of the February 2016 Langley City municipal byelection cost the City $27,000, about half the $55,000 amount it budgets each year for legal matters.

The figures were released by City Chief Administrative Officer Francis Cheung, who said while unsuccessful candidate Serena Oh has been ordered to pay a portion of the court costs, the city does not intend to have the order enforced.

“(Our legal advice was) the process of trying to get the amount would be more than the amount we could recover,” Cheung said.

The drawn-out battle ended with a Supreme Court decision dismissing the challenge by Oh.

The Nov. 30 decision, just posted online, said the leave to appeal a B.C. Court of Appeal ruling against Oh was dismissed with costs, meaning she would have to pay a portion of the City’s legal expenses.

Oh finished ninth out of nine candidates in the election that saw Nathan Pachal take his seat on City Council.

READ MORE: Second time the charm for Nathan Pachal

Oh filed an application with the B.C. Supreme Court to have the election declared invalid.

According to court records of the hearing, Oh said she had carried out various “inspections” on March 24, March 29, March 31 and April 1, 2016 of ballots of people “that I randomly picked who voted for me.”

She claimed that their ballots had been destroyed or were not counted and indeed she asserted that “Over 95 percent or over 1,500 to 2,000 ballots have been destroyed or ballots are not counted.”

New Westminster B.C. Supreme Court Justice Brenda Brown ruled there was no adequate evidence to support Oh’s contention.

“She (Oh) seems to have concluded that people voted, but their votes were not counted or ballots were destroyed or some such, but there is simply no evidence to support that conclusion,” Justice Brown wrote.

The judge also ordered Oh to pay $2,000 of the city’s legal expenses.

Oh then went to the B.C. Court of Appeal.

In a unanimous decision, a three-judge panel upheld the Supreme Court decision, saying the lower court “did not err in finding the appellant’s petition, which effectively sought a recount of votes cast in a municipal by-election, was filed too late and that a case was not made out.”

A transcript of the oral decision delivered on behalf of the panel by Justice Mary Newbury shows that during the appeal court hearing, Oh insisted that 123 people had registered and voted for her but that their votes had not been counted.

“We have questioned Ms. Oh … as to how she can state categorically that the votes of particular people were not counted. What we gleaned from her was that since she had expected to receive 123 votes at least, some fraud must have occurred because she received only 57,” Justice Newbury said.

“Although Ms. Oh remains convinced that her “inspections” establish that some fraud occurred, she is unable to offer anything further than her evidence of conversations with people who, she says, voted for her.”

READ MORE: City Byelection – Township mayoralty hopeful Serena Oh now running for City

When she ran for mayor of Langley Township in 2014, Serena Oh finished a distant third behind winner Jack Froese and second place finisher Rick Green, collecting just under 1,300 ballots or less than six per cent of the vote.

At the time, she said she learned about the law when she represented herself during a drawn-out court battle with the municipality of Burnaby over an illegal suite.

The battle began when the city sued her in 2008 and she then counter-sued over what she said was harassment.

The case eventually went the Court of Appeal, which found for the city.

Oh attempted to appeal it to the Supreme Court of Canada, but said her application was dismissed.



dan.ferguson@langleytimes.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

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

Just Posted

Williams Park marks 30th year of Christmas lights with COVID-19-friendly drive-thru display. (Black Press Media files)
UPDATED: Williams Park on hold following provincial restrictions

The annual Christmas tradition, which turns 30 this year, hopes to re-open after Dec. 7

Dorothy Peacock Elementary in Langley was the latest school to be issued a COVID-19 exposure alert by the local district on Monday evening. (Google)
12 Langley schools on COVID-19 exposure alert, Dorothy Peacock latest addition

Families at four schools were issued letters Monday

Gayle Hallgren is concerned about how a proposed cannabis shop will change Fort Langley. (Hallgren photo)
LETTER: Cannabis shops will harm Fort Langley’s charm

A local letter writer questions why the village needs a pot shop

Google Maps screenshot taken at 7:06 a.m.
Early-morning crash on Highway 1 has morning commuters in gridlock

Westbound crash occurred in Langley, west of 264th Street; left lane blocked

Fraser Health has announced another COVID exposure at Brookswood Secondary. (Google Maps)
UPDATE: Two elementaries added to Brookswood in latest Langley schools with COVID exposure

Three school alerts Monday follow on the heels of five issued this past weekend

People wearing face masks to help curb the spread of COVID-19 cross a street in downtown Vancouver, on Sunday, November 22, 2020. The use of masks is mandatory in indoor public and retail spaces in the province. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. reports 17 COVID deaths, 1,933 new cases as hospitalizations surge over the weekend

There are 277 people in hospital, of whom 59 are in ICU or critical care

(Black Press Media files)
B.C. to test emergency alert system on cell phones, TVs, radios on Wednesday

The alert is part of a twice yearly test of the national Alert Ready system

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speak to the media about the COVID-19 virus outside Rideau Cottage in Ottawa, Friday, Nov. 20, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s inability to manufacture vaccines in-house will delay distribution: Trudeau

First doses of COVID-19 vaccine expected in first few months of 2021, prime minister says

Phillip Tallio was just 17 when he was convicted of murder in 1983 (file photo)
Miscarriage of justice before B.C. teen’s 1983 guilty plea in girl’s murder: lawyer

Tallio was 17 when he pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in the death of his 22-month-old cousin

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
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
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

This undated photo issued by the University of Oxford shows of vial of coronavirus vaccine developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford University, in Oxford, England. Pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca said Monday Nov. 23, 2020, that late-stage trials showed its coronavirus vaccine was up to 90% effective, giving public health officials hope they may soon have access to a vaccine that is cheaper and easier to distribute than some of its rivals. (University of Oxford/John Cairns via AP)
VIDEO: How do the leading COVID vaccines differ? And what does that mean for Canada?

All three of the drug companies are incorporating novel techniques in developing their vaccines

An aerial shot of Cedar Valley Lodge this past August, LNG Canada’s newest accommodation for workers at the project site in Kitimat. This is where several employees are isolating after a COVID-19 outbreak was declared last Thursday (Nov. 19). (Photo courtesy of LNG Canada)
Forty-one positive COVID-19 cases associated with the LNG Canada site outbreak in Kitimat

Thirty-four of the 41 cases remain active, according to Northern Health

7-year-old Mackenzie Hodge from Penticton sent a hand-written letter to premiere John Horgan asking if she’d be able to see her elf, Ralph under the new coronavirus restrictions. (John Horgan / Twitter)
Elf on the shelf an acceptable house guest, B.C. premier tells Penticton girl

A 7-year-old from Penticton penned a letter asking if she’d be allowed to see her elf this year

Most Read