Peace-bond hearing cancelled for former Nanaimo chief administrative officer

Update: Special prosecutor Michael Klein has formally dropped an application for a peace bond against Nanaimo’s former chief administrative officer, who allegedly made threats against the mayor and others last year.

Klein told Nanaimo provincial court on Wednesday that Tracy Samra had been released more than a year ago with conditions not to contact nine complainants.

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Since then, there have been no further incidents and no contact.

Conditions set a year ago were the same as the Crown would have sought under the Criminal Code, Klein said in court.

As well, Samra has been subject to those conditions for more than a year, which is longer than the time allowed under the Criminal Code for such cases.

Klein decided that the application for a peace bond was no longer in the public interest, the B.C. Prosecution Service said in a statement.

Samra was arrested by RCMP in early 2018 following allegations of threats uttered at Nanaimo City Hall on Jan. 31, 2018.

Complainants included then-mayor Bill McKay, two sitting councillors, current and former municipal staff and an online journalist. They were contacted early this week by Klein, who told them the matter would not go ahead.

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It appears that a planned three-day hearing into a peace bond application against Nanaimo’s former chief administrative officer is not going ahead.

The hearing in Nanaimo provincial court into the application, which was made a year ago, was to have started today and continued to Friday.

Tracy Samra was arrested by RCMP in early 2018 following allegations of threats uttered at Nanaimo City Hall, a special prosecutor said at the time.

The court document outlining the application said that then-mayor Bill McKay, then-councillor Diane Brennan, Coun. Sheryl Armstrong, city staffers Sheila Gurrie, Jan Kemp and Donna Stennes, former municipal employees Brad McRae and Kim Fowler, and online journalist Dominic Jones had “reasonable grounds to fear” that Samra would cause personal injury to them, based on a Jan. 31, 2018, incident in Nanaimo.

In May, the City of Nanaimo announced that Samra was no longer employed by the municipality. She has been on leave since Feb. 1, 2018.

Since the application was made, Samra changed lawyers and the matter was adjourned several times.

Cancelling the hearing means details of what happened will not be made public.

McKay said Tuesday that he received a call from the special prosecutor on Monday informing him that the application was not going ahead.

The order being sought would only be valid for a year, McKay said. Meanwhile, Samra had left the area and has not contacted anybody since.

As well, McKay said he was told the likelihood of the application succeeding was “not as great as a year ago.”

“I think the prosecutor did his job to determine: A) Is this in the public interest? And B) is there a likelihood of succeeding?” he said. “As many of us are trying to move on with our lives, this is probably the best outcome.”

Nanaimo city clerk Gurrie said in an email that she’s satisfied with the decision. “If I had to testify [Wednesday] as planned, it may have been cathartic for me and others, but having had some time to adjust to the news, I am happy that this is over and I hope everyone can move on and look forward.” She added that had Samra entered into the peace bond a year ago, it would have expired by now.

“So legally and from the court’s perspective, it makes sense that they not pursue it. However, the many delays over this past year is what got it to this point of being moot, but again, the purpose of a peace bond was met, regardless.”

On Tuesday, calls to Samra at the Musqueam Indian Band office were referred to her lawyer. Vancouver lawyer Glen Orris said that as far as he knows, the matter is not going ahead today.

Dan McLaughlin, spokesman for the B.C. Prosecution Service, would not say on Tuesday that the matter would be closed. He said in a statement that it will be dealt with today, the next scheduled appearance date.

cjwilson@timescolonist.com

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