Days after speaking to the media about a criminal case involving domestic violence, the executive director of the Kelowna Women’s Shelter was terminated.
The former executive director, Allison Mclauchlan, reached out to local news outlets after charges against Jeffrey Maclean were stayed as a result of court delays.
When speaking with Capital News, Mclauchlan said that she was disappointed in the court’s decision to stay all charges before the start of the trial.
Mclauchlan is currently unavailable for comment.
Capital News has been unable to confirm the reason for Mclauchlan’s termination. The Kelowna Women’s Shelter Board of Directors said that they they are “bound by employee confidentiality and do not comment on individual employees.”
However, the board said that Mclauchlan was “speaking to the organization’s mission to help women and children live in safe and equitable communities free from abuse,” adding that the Kelowna Women’s Shelter is disappointed and “fully supports the public outcry” in the decision made by the court to stay charges.
Jeffrey Maclean had been facing charges of assault causing bodily harm and resisting or obstructing a peace officer stemming from an incident of alleged intimate partner violence on November 27, 2021.
Maclean was arrested on the night of the incident, 21 months before the scheduled start of his trial.
In Canada, all people are entitled to a decision within 18 months of being charged with an offence.
If delays prolong the time to reach a conclusion, people are able to submit an application for a stay of proceedings.
On August 17, charges against Maclean were judicially stayed, meaning that they cannot be revisited.
Before being terminated Mclauchlan reached out to the Capital News in addition to other news outlets to discuss the judge’s decision to stay the charges stating it was yet another example of the difficulties faced by vulnerable people and survivors of assault. She explained that for survivors of abuse, seeking justice through the court system is often challenging and complicated. Mclauchlan said that while the decision is disappointing, it is indicative of systemic issues within the criminal justice system that make it difficult for survivors of abuse to find legal justice.
Shortly before her termination, Mclauchlan had worked to open the new women’s shelter in West Kelowna.
While it is unclear why Mclauchlan’s employment was terminated, it is not uncommon for not for profit organizations, like the Women’s Shelter, to terminate without cause.
The women’s shelter said that “all board decisions are made by way of vote.”
The abrupt termination of Mclauchlan after she spoke to media about the court case has sparked online speculation and discussion about the role of board members and directors at a women’s shelter.
Women in #Kelowna are starting to hear about Allison Mclauchlin losing her job as the ED of @KelownaShelter after speaking to media in support of women experiencing intimate partner violence.— Tamara Taggart (@tamarataggart) September 2, 2023
This is a devastating blow to all of us, we need more people like Allison. #bcpoli pic.twitter.com/3K0ZZu9qS8