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Special prosecutor appointed in alleged attack on gay politician’s assistant

In MLA Spencer Chandra Herbert’s Vancouver-West End riding, the neighbourhood has a proud gay flavour.

John Lehmann/The Globe and Mail

The Criminal Justice Branch has appointed a special prosecutor to handle the case of a man accused of assaulting the constituency assistant of B.C. MLA Spencer Chandra Herbert.

In a statement issued Thursday, the assistant deputy attorney-general, Joyce DeWitt-Van Oosten, said the appointment was necessary given Mr. Chandra Herbert's role as an MLA.

Vancouver lawyer Mark Jette will take on the file prompted by the Feb. 21 incident at the constituency office of the NDP MLA for Vancouver-West End.

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Suspect Michael Williams is already facing charges of assault and mischief, but Mr. Jette will make any further charge decisions, offer legal advice to the police in case of any further investigative work, and actually conduct any prosecution.

Vancouver police have said the case was investigated by their hate-crimes unit. Mr. Chandra Herbert, who is openly gay, has said the accused was making homophobic remarks during the incident.

Mr. Williams, 53, is scheduled for a first appearance on April. 4.

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