A former Merritt City Councillor was acquitted on his uttering threats charge in a Kamloops courtroom earlier today.
Mike Bhangu served as a City Councillor from 2018, until his resignation in 2021, when he cited a lack of confidence in then Mayor Linda Brown’s leadership, among other concerns related to the working environment at city hall. He was charged with uttering threats to cause death or bodily harm in June of 2021, and ultimately went to trial on the charge late last year.
Judge Phillips of Kamloops presided over court in November of 2022, where Crown and defense initially outlined their arguments. It was alleged that Bhangu threatened the proprietor of a local moving service after the individual was called by Bhangu’s ex-partner to assist her in moving out of the former councillor’s residence.
Bhangu alleged that the individual was not there in his capacity as a mover when the incident itself took place. Crown argued that Bhangu threatened the individual’s life, while defence called the reliability of the Crown’s witnesses into question. Bhangu maintained throughout the trial, and still does, that the charge was bogus. Courts agreed that it was not substantiated beyond a reasonable doubt, and found Bhangu not guilty.
“It was an unfair situation I was put in, and it was lies that individual told that did the damage, but fortunately the judge was able to see that,” Bhangu told the Herald following his acquittal.
“I’m relieved that it’s over. The allegations surfaced in summer of 2021, it’s now 2023, so it’s a sense of relief. I went through an election with this thing on my back, it’s been difficult to find employment, it did a tremendous amount of damage.”
Bhangu added that he believes repeated coverage of his charge by media outlets unfairly damaged his reputation in political, social, and employment aspects. The former councillor ran for Mayor in 2022, with election day scheduled for one month before his trial began. Now acquitted, Bhangu said he looks to move forward and continue on with his life.The Herald has obtained court documents relating to the judge’s decision in Bhangu’s case. More to come.