Wednesday, July 26, 2006

 

Due diligence 101 ... continued

"What is your interest ... are you a victim in this case?"

"No," I said, "I'm just an interested observer." Then he gave me the time and place of Dave Basi's next court date, and told me they don't normally provide this information by telephone.

For some reason, his question keeps coming back to me. "Are you a victim ...?" and "No, I'm just ... "

Much as I hate the thought of being a victim, I'm thinking: "Every British Columbian is a victim in this case." And what the heck did I mean by "just an interested observer"? What's so insignificant about that? Well, there's an implied intimidation within the judicial system. I seemed to think that if I didn't shape up, he wouldn't provide the service which every citizen has a right to ask for.

I keep thinking that surely to god, there's a simpler way for even the dumbest citizen to find out about ... well, in this case, the date and (please) the hour when a certain issue of public interest erupts into a court room. Not having everybody show up at 9:30 AM and waiting all day.

So, it just isn't simple. But perhaps if more citizens used these services more often, the channels would evolve more openly. Perhaps "they" think nobody cares because nobody is asking.

For example: try phoning the Attorney-General's office. Someone tipped me off that this is where you can get answers. Looking it up in the blue pages gets us nowhere. No phone number is given. Many sub-headings with phone numbers are shown, but for the A-G office itself, no telephone number.

But there is a way, of course. To obtain the A-G's office phone no., I'm told that what you have to do is go back to "Enquiry BC" and they provide it ... Strangely, this no longer seems nuts.

So back you go and call 1-800-663-7867 (Enquiry BC) and although he's pleasantly surprised that you want the Attorney General's office and not any of the centres of the unhappily jailed or bedeviled people, he gives you the correct number for the A-G's office: (250) 387-1866 and then explains that if you are out of town, you can simply call Enquiry BC and they'll transfer the call for you, toll-free. Who would ever guess??

My sleuth also tells me that the person to talk to in the A-G's office is Stan Low. This is how she got the 3 dates for us: for Ravinder Dosanjh; for Basi, Duncan, Young; and for Basi, Virk, Basi.

I still say it shouldn't be this awkward. After all, we're only trying to do our own due diligence as concerned citizens, right?

Also, people have been telling me that arrest doesn't necessarily put the arrested person in jail right away -- not unless they're a threat to the public. This ain't so simple either. I have the Victoria Daily Court List for July 20, 2006 and I think there may be clues under one of the headings: "Bail Proc" but again, who knows what Bail Proc is?

Listed underneath Bail Proc, the entries are given in code, such as: DO, PTU, PTA, AN, AWW, SUM, PPA, RWD, UTA, RWS, CR, OR, RIC. Or, for Basi, Duncan, and Young, the code is WAR. No idea what this means. Is there a lawyer in the house?

All I'm saying is that citizens trying to follow a serious legal issue -- or any legal issue -- should be encouraged, as part of their duties as citizens. In my opinion, citizens should be able to access the basic information about court dates etc on-line (not having to go to a big city Court House to use their computers), we should be able to find the information easily, and if we're willing to travel to the place where the hearings are being held, the Daily Court List should correlate with reality.

Maybe the general public isn't apathetic at all. Maybe we're just scared off. And I don't like to think of Canadians being scared of their own social set-up.

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