Band councillor charged with sexual assault, removed from office

A man who was charged with sex crimes while he was serving as an elected Lheidli T’enneh First Nation band councillor is scheduled to make his first appearance in Prince George provincial court on June 19.

John-Michael West has been charged with sexual assault,  sexual interference with a person under the age of sixteen, and internet luring of a person under the age of sixteen, the B.C. Prosecution Service said in an email to CBC News.

West was suspended by the Lheidli T’enneh Band council after RCMP took him into custody at the First Nation’s conference centre, The House of Ancestors, in downtown Prince George on April 26.  

Chief and council released a written statement to band members that day, saying the council did not know why West had been arrested.

A RCMP officer's arm sleeve badge or crest.
RCMP arrested John-Michael West at a band owned facility in downtown Prince George. (CBC)

West was removed from Lheidli T’enneh council on May 10, after he failed to voluntarily resign despite being charged with an indictable offence, according to a written statement from the Chief and council.

The B.C. Prosecution Service said West’s alleged offences took place in or near Prince George between Dec. 1, 2022 and July 31, 2023.

For three months of that time, West was serving as a band councillor.

He was elected to council on April 11, 2023, and sworn in on April 29, 2023. 

Council said it would not make any public statement as the matter is before the courts. 

The Lheidli T’enneh Nation has approximately 800 members, most of whom live in the Prince George area.

More than 100 people live on reserve about 15 kilometres northeast of Prince George.


Posted in CBC