Calgary City Council Attorney questions why it took police 8 months to file mischief charges

The attorney, representing a Calgary City Councilman facing criminal charges in connection with an alleged roadside confrontation earlier this year, wonders why it took police eight months to investigate and bring charges.

On Friday, the Edmonton Police Service filed charges against Ward 9 Coun. Gian-Carlo Carra with mischief under $5,000 in connection with an April 2 incident in which Carra says he tapped his foot on the bumper of a vehicle after it allegedly nearly hit him and his dog at a crosswalk would have.

Edmonton Police were investigating 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 actually said what happened. So we will defend vigorously and I look forward to the disclosure,” said Pawel Milczarek, Carra’s defender.

Milczarek calls the length of the investigation confusing and worrying.

“That’s a surprisingly long time span for an indictment of this nature,” he said.

“It’s the same, you know, kids get charged because they smashed a window or something. It’s a pretty minor offense.”

Edmonton Police Department declined to discuss the length of the investigation when asked by CTV News Tuesday.

“I am shocked by these allegations and intend to fight them. I will make a statement once we have received any information due,” Carra said in a brief statement.

In July, Carra apologized after the city’s integrity officer investigated and concluded that he had violated the 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 that past actions related to this indictment do not bode well for Carra.

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

“In such circumstances, questions can certainly be raised about the effectiveness of representation and integrity.”

Councilors Sean Chu and Dan McLean have also recently faced 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 had sexual encounters with the underage girl.

Last week, McLean was fined $500 for violating the Local Authorities Election Act by accepting in-kind donations from companies during the 2021 campaign.

He called it unintentional and insignificant.

“It certainly undermines trust in the council and raises questions about whether these elected officials, who are expected to meet legal and ethical standards, are not only doing the right thing, but appear to be doing the right thing,” Williams said.

Mayor Jyoti Gondek said she could not comment on the charges against Carra because they are in court and “to avoid any kind of integrity”.

But she said over the past year the council has made a lot of progress on priorities like revitalizing the inner city and supporting vulnerable groups.

“This is the kind of work we remain committed to as a Council. Every Council member should take this very seriously,” she said.

Carra is expected to appear in court for the first time in January.

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