Surrey Mayor Doug McCallum did not appear in person for his first court date on a charge of public mischief over a police complaint he made in September, alleging his foot had been run over by a car in a grocery store parking lot. His lawyers attended online instead.
The court matter lasted a few minutes and was moved to Feb. 22.
McCallum went public with the claim on Sept. 4, saying he was verbally assaulted and run over by a vehicle.
At the time of the alleged incident, McCallum was in the vicinity of members of Keep the RCMP in Surrey. The group had been collecting signatures for a policing referendum campaign at the South Point Save-on-Foods on 152nd Street.
Tensions have been high between McCallum and those opposing his plan to replace the Surrey RCMP with an independent force called the Surrey Police Service.
In December, the B.C. Prosecution Service (BCPS) announced special prosecutor Richard Fowler had approved the charge of public mischief, which involves making false statements with the intention of misleading police officers.
The B.C. RCMP Major Crime Section headed the investigation after taking control from the Surrey RCMP "to ensure there was no potential for real or perceived conflict of interest or improper influence."
Controversy around legal costs
While McCallum did not appear at the courthouse, about half a dozen people showed up, carrying signs urging the mayor to pay his own legal fees.
The mayor has hired high-profile defence lawyer Richard Peck, who was on Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou's defence team. His legal costs are being covered by the city's taxpayers.
But his opponents say he should foot the bill, despite a city bylaw saying all municipal officials, including employees, officers and members of council, will be compensated for costs relating to any incident that occurred while acting on behalf of the city.
Paul Daynes, campaign director for the Keep the RCMP in Surrey group, said it's unfair for taxpayers to be footing the bill for one of the province's most expensive criminal lawyers.
"We just want to be visible," Daynes said outside the courthouse.
"Let Doug McCallum, the people in the media, know we as a group are still here four and a half years after starting and will continue to make our voice heard in the run-up to and during the upcoming municipal election on the policing issue."