Saturday, July 22, 2006

 

Court Room 101 on 6 Sept '06 at 9:30 AM

File No. 134750-1-D will come up again "for election" on 6 September 2006 at 9:30 AM.

"For election" means that the defendants decide whether to proceed to trial by judge and jury or by judge alone. Then they agree on when and where.

"File No. 134750-1-D" means Udhe Singh (Dave) Basi, James S. Duncan, and Anthony R. Young.

The charges are: against Basi: Breach of trust by a public officer. Against Duncan and Young: person dealing with government offering bribe.


To obtain this information, I spent hours in Victoria Court Room 101 that day without seeing Basi, Duncan, or Young. In the end, I had to rely upon the kindness of others to come up with these results. But I can tell you about the process ...

Temperatures were above 30C in Victoria on July 20, and it took a lot of hoofing around the Court House to ask for information and back onto the street to keep the parking meters fed. Not to mention a certain anxiety that attaches to these places. So after 3 intense hours, when the judge called a recess in Court Room 101, I was in physical distress. Did I mention that I have a problem with cardiac arrythmia? Well, I was shaking and exhausted and a bit scared, when I realized it was time to retreat.

I felt pretty bad, thinking I had failed. All I had come up with was the Daily Court List for Room 101 dated 20 July 2006 on which Basi, Duncan, and Young were listed together as Item #3, #4, #5, of the persons scheduled to appear.

I had arrived at 9:15, found this info on the bulletin board, so hurried downstairs to the farthest end of the corridor to find 101 just in time, a pleasant enough room not too big, not too scary. Figured I was just in time to see Basi walk in.

But no. There were young people on most of the chairs. I took a front seat, nearest the lawyers. A young woman in a black suit entered, pushing a kind of shopping cart loaded with files. She said cheerfully to the lawyer nearest to me, "We're gonna be here until midnight, with all this." So these were the tragic outlines of about 90 issues affecting the lives of the people attending this court.

A large TV monitor brought in the voices and images of many young kids in a Correctional Centre who then heard the time and place of their trials, or the disposition of their future hopes in other ways. I must say that the lawyers, the Crown prosecutor, and the Judge, all seemed to show a fairness and decency throughout, even to asking, "All right, are there any further questions for the court from anyone here?" Not me. What would I say: where is Dave Basi? Didn't seem entirely polite. But one slim young fellow stood up and said, "Last week I was given a $200. fine and I can't pay it." The judge explained how to deal with that, and the lad went away purposefully.

As near as I can make out, it seems that every one of the accused must appear in Court Room 101 at 9:30 AM. How it's decided who goes next, I haven't yet learned. So after an hour, when about 20 cases had been heard, I went out into the corridor, to the first open door I could find {Legal Aid) and asked how I could find out the schedule. The lone occupant of the cubbyhole office seemed alarmed and said I should see the Mumble-Mumble Officer at the front desk. So up I went, and showed the Officer the court list, asking his advice on when Item #3 might come up; I said that I was there to see it as it came before the judge. He shrugged and said, "It could've come up since you left the court room."


"So there's no way of knowing? Item #3 doesn't mean that #3 will be the 3rd one up?"

"No, no. You could be waiting all day for #3 to appear," he said. "Court Room 101 is a Remand court room, you know." No idea what that means.

Much later, it dawned upon me that the Court list had the names in alphabetical order. The numbers are just that, a tally of charges (for July 20,90). There must be a system upon which it's decided who goes next but so far, I don't know what it is.

Back I went to Court Room 101 ... waited and watched some more ... then (defeated by my own infirmities) dragged myself back to my motel vowing to return the next morning. Meantime, I phoned my old friend, who was once my family's lawyer, now retired, and asked him what the process is. He said he couldn't remember. But he also said that these "election" hearings can be done in the Judge's chambers with only the lawyers present. That's all he wanted to say.

Next morning, however, I still felt unwell. So I decided to phone that magic number one more time -- the Victoria Court Registry -- 356-1478 -- and got myself put through to a J.P. who told me that the Basi, Duncan, Young case has been put over "for election" to 6 Sept. 2006.

Wha-a-att?? That's what yesterday's hearing was supposed to do.

Oh yes, said the impatient young man, "These things can go on and on. Now may I suggest that in future, you go to the Court House and use their computers to obtain this information, as we normally don't give this information on the phone."

Me: "But if I'm in Parksville?"

JP: "Then you'd go to the Nanaimo Court House and they'd set you up on their computer."

I certainly saw no "access to computers" sign in Victoria Court House. And we were assured that Nanaimo Court House couldn't tell us a thing because they didn't know.

I came away from this exercise in Citizen Awareness with a new appreciation for the kindness of lawyers and of the judge who were dealing with a staggering load of work. I also had a new appreciation of why there's so little in the corporate media about the Basi, Virk, et al affair. And yet, if the corporate media used its muscle to insist upon answers, perhaps the information lines would be more open.

My best sleuth with the 17 years of Ontario cabinet experience, goes straight to the BC Attorney General's office when she wants information. She talks to Stan Low, and it was he who told her that Basi & Virk go into pre-trial matters in the last 3 weeks in September ... that Basi, Young & Duncan would be in court July 20 (otherwise I wouldn't have known this at all), and that the trial of former Constable Ravinder Dosanjh is set to continue in mid-September (Sept 13/14).

Citizens, arise, is what I say.

Now, from the shade of Salt Spring Island, I say adieu for another few days. I'll be able to check my e.mail on Monday morning at bcmary@myway.com

Comments:
Thanks Mary.

Yours is the one and only report that I have seen on this matter.
 
Thanks for that, Ross. Now ...

Here's a question: when people are arrested on criminal charges, don't they go to jail (like those unhappy kids I saw on Thursday)? Or, if they're released, isn't it because bail has been arranged?

So ... what about Basi and Virk? Are they free on bail? If so, how much bail? And who paid it? Maybe there are conditions?

What do you think?

BC Mary.

Or ... for goshsakes ... are they just free citizens like as if no crime had been committed?

How does this work, any idea??
 
I'm no lawyer, but its pretty simple really. When charged, the ancient right of 'habeas corpus' (literally: "show me the body" (of the accused)) kicks in. Those who arrested the accused must bring them before a judge within a certain time limit (I think its 48hrs. or something like that). At this hearing, the crown pers, er, prosecutor can ask that the accused be 'held in custody' i.e. in gaol, or released on bail. The crown makes their arguement pro, the defence lawyers argue con, the judge decides. A judge may also (if the crown does not object) release someone 'on their own recognasance', no money involved, just a promise to 'be of good behaviour' and appear in court again at some future date. This is frequently done where the person is a) not a threat to the community, and b) presents no risk of flight to avoid prosecution. Its very likely this was done in these cases.
For more info contact the trial co-ordinator for Victoria Supreme Court of BC:

VICTORIA REGISTRY TRIAL COORDINATOR’S CONTACT INFORMATION



Trial Coordinator: Dianne Lezetc

Phone number: 250-356-2050

Fax number: 250-952-6824

Courthouse address: Room 210, 850 Burdett Ave., Victoria, B.C. V8W 9J2

Hope this helps - keep up the good work!
 
Thanks for the update.

There is free parking for 2 hours, by the way, just off of Quadra Avenue (borders the court house).
 
Macadavy:

Many thanks. There's been such a disconnect in my head, between my understanding of Canadian law, and what is happening with the Basi & Virk situation, not to mention the tall mountain which must be climbed to find the few basic details, such as where and when.

I'd be most grateful if you'd use those contacts to find out about the bail details for Basi and the others. Then tell me how simple it all is.


About the free parking, I'll check it out someday when it isn't 30C and I'm not running late. I thought Christ Church cathedral was back there, plus an ancient graveyard. Many thanks.

BC Mary.
 
Thank you BC Mary for keeping this issue alive. Seems like a whole bunch of BC people/politicos/bizness would like to see it go away or pretend it never happened.
I am sorry to hear that you are expending your precious energy on this issue, though I thank you for it wholeheartedly.
This issue is a key to what our provincial government is really all about, and it seems obvious that not only the court system but perhaps higher powers are trying to sweep this under the rug.
You go, girl!
When it comes down to brass tacks, the people will know the whole story and in many ways they may not understand at the moment, the people will have YOU to thank for the knowledge.
Someone on high is protecting these people. Even what's-his-name of the deck building fiasco didn't have enough of an "IN" to mitigate his circumstances to the extent these boys have had.
Someone's looking out for them, and their own interests, and dog-gonnit BC Mary, you will find out just who!
Peace, goodwill and if there is anything I can do to help let me know.
 
ursankid:

Big thanks for your kind words. Gotta admit, encouragement like this keeps me working on the raids issue. Plus, it's good not to feel "alone" and vulnerable, know what I mean?

Taking you up on your generous offer, you could help a lot by leaving your thoughts here, your general ideas on this case, your views, your clues, which I could pick up and post, what do you think?
 
Or use my summer e.mail address:

bcmary@myway.com
 
http://www.bcpl.gov.bc.ca/ell/index.php?cida=1

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ignorantia_juris_non_excusat
Ignorantia juris non excusat or Ignorantia legis neminem excusat (Latin for "ignorance of the law is no excuse") is a public policy holding that a person who is unaware of a law may not escape liability for violating that law merely because he or she was unaware of its content; that is, persons have presumed knowledge of the law.
Google law procedure in British Columbia, for starters.
An informed and learning watch-dog group can both report on and critique the courts performance
While Jury nullification can be invoked by an informed jury, with respect to bad law and bad decisions I know of no provision to critique performance of the courts, which provides a space and fills a gap in jurisprudence and begs for such action to occur.
A Viglantia Corps, if you will. Someone to keep the game honest!

You will be needing this : http://ecclesia.org/truth/bouviers.html
and this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brocard
and this: http://vi.uh.edu/pages/bob/elhone/comcrts.html
and this: http://www.lonang.com/exlibris/blackstone/bla-101.htm
to proceed without these tools is to bring disaster into the Courts, even as the gallery on the observers (or so they will have you believe) side of the Bar.
 
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