Charges laid in e-mail deletion case

A former B.C. government employee who allegedly deleted e-mails to skirt a freedom of information request had charges laid against him.

A former B.C. government employee who allegedly deleted e-mails to skirt a freedom of information request has recently had charges laid against him.

According to a Canadian Press published by the Vancouver Sun, George Gretes, who was a ministerial assistant in the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure, was charged with two counts of wilfully making false statements to “mislead or attempt to mislead the province’s privacy commissioner under the freedom of information and privacy act.”

The charges are a result of a report by B.C. privacy commissioner Elizabeth Denham released in October 2015. The  report revealed that B.C. transportation ministry staff had deleted e-mails and records about the Highway of Tears.

Denham reported on investigations into three complaints, and determined in at least one case that e-mails had been intentionally deleted in an effort to avoid public release. She also condemned the practice of political staff such as premier Christy Clark’s deputy chief of staff to delete all of their sent e-mails at the end of each day.

Clark later accepted all of the recommendations made by Denham and said the practice of erasing government records such as triple deleting e-mails would be banned.

According to the Vancouver Sun, Gretes was suspended with pay last May and transportation minister Todd Stone said his resignation was accepted when the privacy commissioner’s report was released in October.

Gretes is scheduled to appear in provincial court in Victoria on April 20, 2016.