A witness at the outgoing mayor of Surrey’s trial says she told him she would be the one to ‘bring him down’
Woman Doug McCallum allegedly falsely accused of assault while driving claims she told outgoing Surrey mayor he was ‘mean’ and she ‘was going to be the bitch who brought him down “.
Debi Johnstone recalled the words as she took the stand on the opening day of McCallum’s public mischief trial on Monday.
Johnstone is the woman McCallum accused of running over her foot with her car after an argument in a Save-On-Foods parking lot on September 4, 2021 – a claim the 66-year-old has denied.
In peppery testimony, the retiree admitted that she and McCallum traded “annoyances” in a “heated debate” as she sat in her open-top Mustang and he stood nearby.
But she said she didn’t feel anything unusual or unexpected when she left.
“His face is kinda peely and scaly, so I made reference to his scaly face… I called him a scaly-faced motherfucker,” Johnstone said.
“He told me I was a loudmouth, a loudmouth – something to the effect that I was no good for Surrey.”
Raising the suspicion of “non-committed offence”
Johnstone was the first witness to testify on Monday in a trial eagerly awaited by Surrey political watchers.
Crown prosecutor Richard Fowler called her after briefly outlining the Crown’s case against McCallum, who was removed from office earlier this month.
He said McCallum was charged under a section of the Criminal Code that defines public mischief as doing something “intended to cause another person to suspect of an offense which he did not commit.”
WATCH | CCTV footage of the encounter between Doug McCallum and Debi Johnstone:
In the case, Fowler told Judge Reg Harris that the Crown would present video evidence of CCTV footage of the encounter as well as statements made to police.
“The issue will ultimately be whether Mr McCallum intended to mislead the police by making false statements to the police with the intention of making Mrs Johnstone suspect of having committed an offense which she did not had not committed,” Fowler said.
‘I really want to go after her’
At the start of the proceedings, McCallum stood up and said the words “not guilty” when the judge asked him how he wanted to plead.
Fowler then recounted the minute-by-minute events leading up to the indictment, beginning with the confrontation in the parking lot where Johnstone was going to join other members of a group opposed to McCallum’s plans for a city police.
The prosecutor said McCallum finally got his groceries after claiming Johnstone ran over his foot and then contacted the RCMP and went to Peace Arch Hospital.
Hours after calling a police dispatcher, McCallum gave a 60-Minute statement in which Fowler said he told police: ‘Ms Johnstone pulled up in her car and almost pinned him in the back of his car.”
The prosecutor claimed that McCallum also told police, “I really want to prosecute her on this one.”
McCallum sat at a table alongside members of his legal team behind ace defender Richard Peck.
After being called to the stand, Johnstone walked to the elevated booth where she would be giving her testimony and fixed her eyes on the outgoing mayor – looking directly at him until Fowler stepped between them.
‘The worst mayor Surrey has ever had’
Johnstone said she was a retired sales manager with three adult children who had lived in Surrey for 13 years. She went to the mall as a volunteer to collect signatures for a petition to keep the RCMP in Surrey.
She claimed to have driven through the parking lot in her convertible Mustang. She had the top down. She said she saw a man she thought was McCallum and knew it was him as he went to put on a mask.
“I yelled at him to quit,” Johnstone told Fowler. “I said, ‘Resign, McCallum. “”
She claimed that McCallum then came towards her and stood on a small embankment near a shrub as they followed each other.
“I told him he was the worst mayor Surrey had ever had. I told him he was petty. I told him he was a liar,” Johnstone said.
Fowler asked if she could have called him an “asshole”.
“Oh, probably,” Johnstone replied.
Video later released in court showed the exiting mayor standing by Johnstone’s car and speaking after driving through a parking space. The video appeared to show McCallum walking away towards the store after Johnstone left. He didn’t seem to be limping.
“You do this stuff to intimidate”
Under cross-examination, Johnstone was asked about her use of profanity and her previous presence at McCallum’s home. Peck played clips of her calling members of the mayor’s new city police “scabs” and “whores” at a previous protest.
“You do this stuff to intimidate,” Peck said.
“I don’t know how I can intimidate a police force. I do it to be heard,” Johnstone replied.
“You do it to intimidate and instill fear in people,” Peck said.
The defense attorney also questioned Johnstone about calling McCallum “scaly-faced” and asked if it was “his habit of putting people down because their face has some kind of disability.”
“Just McCallum,” she said.
Peck asked Johnstone if she blamed McCallum for a number of events, including someone leaving dog feces on her doorstep and an incident in which she claimed someone pulled a gun on her.
She indicated that she ultimately believed he was responsible. Peck said she had no basis for this claim.
Johnstone also admitted to thinking it was her “lucky day” when she spotted McCallum in the parking lot.
She said he stood less than two feet from her car as they argued and she couldn’t see his feet as she drove away.
“Were you worried as you completed the arc of your turn that your car might come into contact with him? Pike ask.
“No,” said Johnstone.
The trial is scheduled for seven days. Fowler said a police officer should also testify. It is unclear if McCallum will speak.