Monday, September 25, 2006

 

Knowingly, deliberately kept in the dark

I.

They gathered in B.C. Supreme Court: Basi, Basi, Virk, their lawyers, and the Special Prosecutor (on behalf of the people of B.C.) for a significant pre-trial hearing. A CanWest reporter was in the courtroom. Something must have happened, we know not what. The general public heard not a syllable about it.

This Sept. 18 hearing was intended to grapple with evidentiary readiness. At least, we think so. That's what the Attorney-General's office told me. But we don't really know because the event was knowingly and deliberately not reported in British Columbia's news media.

This was the hearing which would have -- should have -- told Canada that "We're finally ready to take Basi, Virk, and Basi to trial!" Either that, or they aren't ready. We simply don't know ... not even now, a week after the pre-trial decision.

Sept. 18 and 19, I searched every newspaper as well as CBC News and CKNW for this information, and found nothing, although this is a trial which could shake the very foundations of our governments.

That's why I e.mailed the Times Colonist. You saw the response kindly sent by the Editor-in-Chief confirming the hearing but providing no details. Why on earth not? Why not inform the people?

Either the defence and prosecution have gathered all the evidence they need and are ready to proceed to trial; or they still don't have all the evidence they need, and they requested a further delay. Which is it?

British Columbians have a need and a right to know 1) what is the trial date; or, 2) if delayed, until what date?

Unbelievably, we do not know at this point whether the Trial of the Century is on, or off, or sent to Syria via New York and Jordan. The entire B.C. Legislature remains under a cloud. We desperately need to clear the air.

In a Theocracy or a Dictatorship, such things might happen. But not in a Parliamentary Democracy. Not in Canada. Surely not.

.

Comments:
The events leading up to the trial seem shrowded in mystery. It's great when a news suppier decides it's not worth writing about but still managed to be at the Court House. Managing the events seem to happen if the government is involved.

Yet when the cops showed up on the Clarkes' house, lo and behold a media crew just happened to be passing by. How fortunate for the media that withut any advanced notice they just happeded to be in the right place to attempt to cut down the Premier,
 
I would suggest that if nothing happened but that it was held over, the city editor (or whoever made the decision) may have simply decided that until something more substantive happens, no one is really interested. It has been a long time since any of this was in the news, so it has been forgotten by most people. Most people don't care if it has been held over. Most people won't care until something happens -- like the trial itself. Those who do care have other ways of keeping track.

Don't forget that these people (the mainstream media) are profit-driven. Their main goal is to maximize revenue. If they decide that devoting space to the holding-over of a trial (if, indeed, that's what happened) that most people have forgotten is going to bore people, then they won't run it. They'll drop in a short piece about a voyeur in a women's washroom instead (as CBC did this morning).

Sure, they *should* run it, if the goal is keeping the people informed, but that's not the goal. And you don't have to subscribe to any conspiracy theory about the goal being to misinform or to help people to forget, in order to believe that.

Maybe there's more to it when you get to the Can-West corporate offices, or to the Asper family itself, but on this level? I don't think so. I think the editors and publishers are picked on the basis of general agreement with the conservative, mainstream bent, and the ability to watch and maximize the bottom line.
 
Anon, I have a fair idea of how a newsroom works and I'm just not ready to grant CanWest immunity from the demands of a healthy society.
 
Mary, perhaps The MisCho should write an opinion piece that explains the opinions that are involved in deciderating that Glen Clark's deck was worthy of daily coverage, even if that required endless repitition of the previous few days' footage and comments.....yet the first activity in months in a trial involving

"drugs, money-laundering, and organized crime, two privatization deals worth more than $1 billion, and allegations of breach of trust and fraud by top provincial government officials who have extensive connections with the federal Liberal party and the campaign to make Paul Martin leader and prime minister."

doesn't rise to the level of being of "interest? If she would be so kind as to explain I would even BUY that copy of the T-C and force my parrot to degrade his butt for a few days (if I had a parrot).
 
There used to be a list of upcoming trails on the court web site. I went looking for it after the articl about Basi and friends. Couldn't find it. Maybe I was looking in thw wrong places?
 
That was my previous experience with the BC court web-sites, too. Could find lots of general info., but not the particular info I needed about Basi & Virk.

The surest route is to telephone the Attorney-General's office. Go through "Enquiry BC" (Blue pages) and they'll connect you without long distance charges. Good person to talk to is Stan Lowe.

I'm outside BC at the moment ... so would love to hear back from you when you find out.

If you are near Victoria, the Trials Co-ordinator told me, by telephone, that there are Public Access Computers in the corridor (2nd floor) of Victoria Court House where, so they said, you just punch in the name and the data comes up on the screen.

I have to say, however, that I surely hadn't seen any such computers when I was tracking around Victoria Court House in June, looking for Courtroom 101 in which Basi et al were listed as appearing but didn't show up either.
 
I wonder, if one can walk into the court house and get the information from an open computer, that the same information isn't available on the Courthouse web sites? I have no desire to contact the AG's office or the trials coordinator directly. That costs the government money( Us). I simply want to be able to crank up my computer and find the information myself. If I didn't have a computer access at home or at the local Library and needed to start calling folks to get what used to be public knowledge I wonder what else has sort of gone away. Over the years I have tracked a lot of court decisions including some that are listed as unrecorded. Maybe they are gone as well. Next time you are talking to ex Judge Oppel you might remind him that some of us actually like to learn by reading up the cases. If most go against what one things they want, the liklyhood of another case succeeding is slim, so why clutter up the system. Cheaper all round if the citizen taxpayer has some information. What does a slightly disabled person who can't just drop into the Victoria courthouse have for alternatives? The person who can't afford to travel to such a site?
 
Yeah, I wondered, too, why trial information isn't available on home computers, the way Hansard is, or Library holdings, etc.

I especially wondered about the disabled, the slightly disabled, the handicapped, the poor, the troubled, how do they find out about these Public Access Computers or how to work them?

To correct your assumption: I have never spoken to Wally Oppal. One of my supporters who is gifted in these matters undertook to phone the Attorney-General's office; she recommends speaking to Stan Lowe who, she says, was extremely helpful. But when I was in B.C. during the summer and tried to speak to Stan Lowe, he was off on holidays.

I'd urge you to use the Enquiry BC number, 1-800-663-7867 and ask for the Attorney-General's office. I believe these lines operate at a fixed rate, whether used or not. So why not use it, for a worthy cause. Not using it sends a signal that nobody cares!

In a perfect world, we'd all be following many trials and court decisions, as a means of being better citizens.

They'll even give you Wally Oppal's number, which is 250-387-1866.

Please don't give up. I'd appreciate your support!
 
I live a very few blocks from the Court house here in Victoria, and used to spend a fair amount of time in the library nobody seems to know much about up near the top floor. Reviewed a large number of court cases around Indian Issues, and picked up a lot of information. I had to go there because the on line stuff was fairly new. The lawyers all have accounts to get the most up to date stuff. I used a lot of quarters. But nobody told me to get lost. I was shipped down to the lower floors to check on some real recent cases on residential issues as well. It was really neat to sign out the whole pile of stuff from some court decisions, including the stuff presented by all sides of the arguments. Everyone there was most helpfull. But I still like the idea of doing some checking as to what's coming up, and when it is coming up, the web site had that information and now I can't find it. It's more cost effective if one can do it from their own space. Should I ever run into Wally at some event you can be sure I'll ask him if its just me that can't find stuff anymore or if it's gone. There will have to be a crowd as I don't ask politicians anything without an audience. Maybe we should hit on the Opposition Court critic. He should know where to steer a taxpayer in the court system
 
What a piece of good luck, to encounter someone who has actually accessed court records this way.

One case which must surely have been wound up by now, is the Obstruction of Justice charge against former Constable Ravinder Dosanjh.

Any chance you could check that out?
 
I just raised the issue in the Tyee a few minutes ago. It was in the Vancouver Sun .
 
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