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Calgary councillor’s lawyer questions why police took 8 months to lay mischief charge

The lawyer representing a Calgary councillor who is facing a criminal charge in connection to an alleged roadside confrontation earlier this year is questioning why it took police eight months to investigate and lay charges.

On Friday, the Edmonton Police Service charged Ward 9 Coun. Gian-Carlo Carra with mischief under $5,000 in relation to an incident on April 2 where Carra says he tapped his foot on the bumper of a vehicle after it allegedly nearly hit him and his dog in a crosswalk.

Edmonton police investigated the incident as Carra was a member of the Calgary Police Commission at the time – a role he has since resigned from.

“We don’t know what the other side has actually said had happened. So, we will be providing a vigorous defence, and I look forward to seeing the disclosure,” said Pawel Milczarek, Carra’s defence lawyer.

Milczarek calls the length of the investigation confusing and concerning.

“That’s an astonishingly long period of time for a charge of that nature,” he said.

“That’s the same thing, you know, kids get charged with for breaking a window or something like that. It’s a fairly minor offence.”

Edmonton police would not speak to the length of the investigation when asked by CTV News on Tuesday.

“I am shocked by these charges and intend to fight them. I will make a statement once we receive all the information that we are due,” Carra said in a brief statement.

In July, Carra apologized after the city’s integrity commissioner investigated and concluded he violated council’s code of conduct by failing to properly disclose his financial interest in a property in Inglewood.

Lori Williams, a political scientist and professor at Mount Royal University, said those past actions combined with this charge won’t bode well for Carra.

“The fact that Coun. Carra won by such a razor-thin margin in the last election means that he’s more vulnerable in the next election to voter reaction to this,” she said.

“Questions about effectiveness of representation and integrity can certainly be raised in these kinds of circumstances.”

Councillors Sean Chu and Dan McLean have also faced recent legal or ethical issues.

Chu was accused of sexually assaulting a 16-year-old girl in 1997 when he was 34 and serving as a member of the Calgary Police Service.

Chu admitted to having sexual encounters with the underage girl.

Last week, McLean was handed a $500 fine for breaking the Local Authorities Election Act by accepting in-kind donations from businesses during the 2021 campaign.

He called it unintentional and minor.

“It certainly erodes trust in council and raises questions about whether these elected representatives that are expected to meet sort of legal as well as ethical standards, not only to do what is right but to appear to do what is right,” Williams said.

Mayor Jyoti Gondek said she cannot comment on the charge against Carra because it is before the courts and “to avoid compromising any kind of integrity.”

However, she said a lot of progress has been made by council in the last year on priorities like downtown revitalization and helping vulnerable groups.

“That is the work kind of work that we continue to remain committed to as a council. Each council member should take that very seriously,” she said.

Carra is expected to make his first court appearance in January. Top Stories

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