More than nine months after a report from B.C.’s privacy watchdog slammed the government for its email policies, a former staffer charged in the government’s so-called “triple delete” scandal is expected to plead guilty.
George Gretes, a former ministerial assistant in the Ministry of Transportation is facing two charges under the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, for allegedly lying under oath about deleting ministry emails.
That came after a whistle-blower reported Gretes had grabbed a keyboard from his hands and deleted government emails about the highway of tears, documents that had been requested in a freedom of information request.
That whistle-blower, Tim Duncan, says he’s concerned Gretes might get off with a slap on the wrist.
“I find a five thousand dollar fine a bit light for this type of thing but that’s a function of the act. The penalties within the act itself, the Freedom of Information Act, aren’t all that heavy.”
Duncan says that’s a light fine and he’d be surprised if Gretes paid a dime of his own money.
“Quite honestly I don’t think he’s going to be paying that, I think the B.C. Liberal party will be paying that.”
Last October, Information and Privacy Commissioner Elizabeth Denham released a scathing report, finding government employees, some even in the premier’s office, routinely deleted emails.
Gretes eventually admitted deleting the documents and resigned, but the RCMP picked up the case and he was charged in march with two counts of making false statement or obstructing commissioner.
He is due in a Victoria court this Thursday, where court records indicate he will plead guilty.