Tuesday, October 31, 2006
Possible mistrial raised in corruption case
CKNW - October 31, 2006
VANCOUVER (CP) - A lawyer for a former B.C. government aide facing corruption charges says a lack of evidence disclosure by the Crown makes the case a prime candidate for a mistrial.
Michael Bolton told Justice Elizabeth Bennett on Tuesday the case is a serious contender for a miscarriage of justice.
Bolton and other defence lawyers want access to the RCMP project room where the evidence is kept.
............. snip .............
Bolton, who is Dave Basi's lawyer, said police used "misleading, misinformed and perhaps deliberately false affidavits" to obtain authority for two wiretaps.
The court heard Monday police obtained a wiretap for a government cellular phone without telling the authorizing judge it was a government phone.
He said the [RCMP project] room contained more than just privileged documents from the B.C. legislature, but also information of police informants.
"The relationship between RCMP and their informants would be fundamentally impaired," Berardino said, if defence lawyers were allowed to see the information.
Read the complete report at:
John Doe in court, Basi Virk Basi weren't?
30 October 2006, listed under the name "John Doe" ?
John Doe is listed 5 times, John Does, 3 times in the On-Line Attendance List.
They share two File Numbers:
VLC - S - L - 051893 and VLC - S - L 052627
The names of Udhe (Dave) Basi, Bob Virk, and Aneal Basi are not on the Attendance List for 30 October 2006. But their trial was discussed. Oh yes, it was discussed!
Robin's eye-witness report from the courtroom is being written up.
The pre-trial hearing continues today 31 Oct. Maybe. You just never know.
Sunday, October 29, 2006
We'll be there, taking notes fast and furious
Dear Mary. I should have written sooner but I was most of the day at the Vancouver rally and march for Canadian troops out of Afghanistan. My friend trained in law at UBC is (as of now) going with me to the court Monday at 9:15 ... Anyhow, it looks like we'll be there, taking notes fast and furious. (All this because of the good work you do and have done.) Courage, Robin
Friday, October 27, 2006
Hearing confirmed: Monday 30 October.
From: BC Mary [firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Thu, October 26, 2006 6:44 PM
To: Bettger, Gail AG:EX, Attorney-General's Office
Hello again, Gail Bettger,
Could you tell me if I'm correct, in expecting Basi, Virk, and Basi to
appear in Vancouver Supreme Court again for pre-trial conference
on Monday, 30 October 2006?
And that this hearing may extend to a full week?
Also, is it possible to confirm that the tentative trial date is still December 4?
Reply to: BC Mary
According to our records, the information you have on the court dates is correct.
However, wehave no idea of knowing how long the hearing will last.
Criminal Justice Branch
Star: It's hip to be brown now, a desi
South Asian youth rebrand for new era
Toronto Star - Oct. 27, 2006
To be brown in a white world post-9/11 is fraught with complexity.
Do you become a coconut (brown outside, white inside) to survive or do you reinvent yourself, complete with a cool new brand - desi? [Pronounced "day-see." From Sanskrit for "countryman."]
The Indian diaspora seems to be chucking the coconut for a whole new subculture in Canada, the U.S. and the U.K., according to writer Gautam Malkani, who was in Toronto this week for the Harbourfront Festival of Authors. [Malkani the Cambridge-educated, editor of Financial Times.]
His debut novel, Londonstani, which sparked a bidding frenzy and fuelled ongoing debates about race, identity and patriotism, is a provocative look at this transformation of South Asian culture that resonates in the Greater Toronto Area, where Canadian-born desi kids are putting Bollywood ring tones on their phones and gabbing with peers in their parents' mother tongue.
Malkani's novel revolves around a gang of desi rude boys who are prone to cellphone scams, beating up white kids who call them "Paki," and obsessed with bling, bodybuilding and girls. As second-generation Brits from India and Pakistan who struggle for a unique identity, separate from their immigrant parents and white Britons, the book opens with them in phase 1 of the process: voluntary segregation and assertive ethnicity.
"Previously we were all studious, conscientious, almost subservient. Then in the early '90s ...
[Full story at: http://www.thestar.com/NASApp/cs/ContentServer?pagename=thestar/Layout/Article_Type1&c=Article&cid=161899443049 ... a useful and informative analysis at this time.
[In addition: "Can you hear the nightbird call?" by Anita Rau Badami, is a book recommended recently on The Tyee. The story moves between West Punjabi villages of India and Vancouver giving it an immediacy as well as other-
worldliness. As we await, trying to understand the crises in the lives of Basi, Virk, Basi which affected every British Columbian, these might provide calming preparation for the trials ahead.
- BC Mary.]
Wednesday, October 25, 2006
Why Did The Authorities Spare The "White Guys" in Basi Bribes Case?
From The Link, B.C.'s leading Indo-Canadian newspaper, 6 April 2006
SURREY The sordid tale of Dave Udhe Basi and his boys Robert Virk and Aneal Basi was finally unveiled in its full sleazy details which allege cash, trips worth $30,000 tied to B.C. Rail deal.
Basi's world came crashing down when his office was searched by police as part of a raid on the legislature. Rumours of connections to organized crime, police finding grow-op on one of his rural Victoria properties and Liberal membership fraud have all but wiped Basi from the provincial and national political landscape, which had preoccupied much of his being until the downfall.
What it all comes down to is that the Basi and his boys let delusions of power go to their heads for a mere $30,000, ending their fat-cat government careers and sending them packing to Disgrace-land. The three former B.C. Liberal government aides received nearly $30,000 from lobbyist Erik Bornman involved in the $1-billion B.C. Rail deal, court documents released this week allege ...
For more, read the rest of the story: The Link, at:
[Note from B.C. Mary: I did not -- and would not -- write a story like this, which in my view casts aspersions upon the accused in the Legislature trials. But in a case where accusations of racism may arise against "White" people (ugh!), I think it's important to see how the Indo-Canadian press handles the facts of the Basi, Virk, Basi discussion. The Link deserves full credit for fearless confrontation, if not for an even-handed neutrality, as we wait to hear the evidence at trial. Thanks to Lynn who found this story for us.]
Monday, October 23, 2006
Some troubling thoughts ...
I can't quite come to grips with the CanWest story (below). And it is a CanWest story, without by-line; that's point #1. This sometimes happens when a seasoned journalist dislikes the editor's changes so much, he/she refuses to let his by-line appear. I'm not saying that's what happened. But it could have.
Here's another point of concern: the CanWest article refers to "the government's corruption case against [Basi, Virk, Basi]". Hello? This isn't "the government's corruption case". No way. No. A thousand times No, it is not.
The government isn't the judiciary. The government isn't even Special Prosecutor, Bill Berardino, I hope. Surely it's the people (Regina, the Crown, as symbol of The People) represented by Special Prosecutor Berardino, who stands in open court to call to account these three men for alleged wrongdoing involving, for cryin' out loud, "the government".
This could be a slip-of-the-pen by a youthful reporter. Maybe. Or it could be a reflection of the junta's determination to create some new propaganda, suggesting that it's "the government", not the people of British Columbia, which is wearing the white hat and sheriff's badge, seeking justice in this case. I think not. I think "the government" must stand back, allowing justice to take its course in a fair, impartial trial.
Let's be very clear about this: "the government" could be implicated in some of the things done under Dave Basi's alleged influence. "The government" should not in any way be trying to influence this trial. Or the public's understanding of the trial. They should be told, by The People, to stand aside. In this trial, The People are owed a fair answer; owed big-time.
About the headline "Procedural issues plague corruption case", I had no idea that procedural issues were a problem of any kind. Did you know this?
Then there's "for possible questioning" ... as in "A lawyer for David Basi is concerned about the integrity or wholeness of the disclosure process in the government's corruption case against his client and wants the RCMP to attend court for possible questioning".
Why "possible questioning"? Surely, after 3 years, Basi's lawyers know whether they have questions for Cpl. Chun Ma ... or not. Is this merely stalling? Well, I think it's stalling.
Consider: a big case like this with all kinds of documentary evidence would have given counsel lots of chance to exchange queries re the evidence. And lots of chance for Defence to pick up on the things they were worried about: deletions, omissions, relevant/irrelevant stuff and time to contact the Crown.
Then Crown may clear it up, may answer the questions or try to, may put off the questions, may ignore the questions - many things are never decided until they get before the judge. Then that's what goes into the pretrial motions - actions by the defence - usually - challenging the discovery evidence and documentary evidence that the Crown has given them.
However ... "vetting and editing" is indeed peculiar. As in "Bolton told the court that he and the other defence lawyers, also intend to address the question of vetting or editing of material disclosed for the case." This almost sounds like tampering with the evidence ... ?? Surely not. Surely not something like vetting or editing to give preferential treatment for cabinet ministers or a former prime minister. Here's obviously where "the government" should not imagine it's running this trial.
I find "a week of pre-trial motions" quite amazing -- as in: The judge told Berardino "it may be useful" to have the officer present during "a week of pre-trial motions starting Oct. 30", but that "doesn't mean there'll be a free-for-all cross-examination". So it's not a Discovery. It's more like what usually happens in Judge's chambers? Just procedural stuff? Why in court session ... for a whole week? My guess: more stalling.
Remember Judge Patrick Dohm postponing matters because he was taking weeks and months to shuffle through the original 32 cartons of seized material, to ensure that Cabinet confidentiality wasn't breached. So the "vetting and editing" has already been done, right?
Something more should be said, at this time, by the most important witnesses in this case: the British Columbia public. People, by making their voices heard, have an important part to play in bringing The Legislature Raids to justice. Now is the time to speak up.
Those mentioned in this news story aren't supermen. They can benefit from public input ... if only they hear it.
Sunday, October 22, 2006
In that Supreme Court room on Oct. 20 ...
Procedural issues plague corruption case
Lawyers for B.C. aids want to question cops
CanWest News Service
Published: Sunday, October 22, 2006
VANCOUVER -- A lawyer for David Basi is concerned about the "integrity or wholeness" of the disclosure process in the government's corruption case against his client and wants the RCMP to attend court for possible questioning.
Basi and Bobby Virk, both former provincial government ministerial assistants, were charged in December 2004 with accepting a bribe, influence peddling, breach of trust and two counts of fraud over $5,000.
Michael Bolton says he and the other defence lawyers are asking that Cpl. Chun Ma, a member of the commercial crime section responsible for the disclosure of electronic materials, be available.
"We may seek to cross-examine him regarding certain aspects," Bolton told B.C. Supreme Court Madam Justice Elizabeth Bennett.
Special prosecutor Bill Berardino said he would take the request "under advisement" but pointed out if there are any "substantive issues" to be raised, they should be identified in advance.
The judge told Berardino "it may be useful" to have the officer present during a week of pre-trial motions starting Oct. 30, but that "doesn't mean there'll be a free-for-all cross-examination.
"Bolton told the court that he and the other defence lawyers, also intend to address the question of vetting or editing of material disclosed for the case.
Aneal Basi, a former communications worker in the transportation ministry, also faces two counts of laundering money.
The charges relate to the $1-billion sale of B.C. Rail.
Call that a raid on a legislature? Pfft.
You call that a raid on a legislature? Pfft.
By Rob Cottingham
1 Sept. 2006
Near the end of 2003, BC was stunned when the RCMP swooped down on the provincial legislature and walked away with boxes and boxes of papers marked “Evidence”.
It was a huge scandal. Apparently, Alaska felt jealous.
And competitive buggers that they are, they’ve been scheming to horn in on our action. Today, they made their move:
The offices of at least six Alaska legislators, including the son of Sen. Ted Stevens, were raided by federal agents searching for possible ties between the lawmakers and a large oil field services company, officials and aides said….
Four different teams of at least six federal agents each spent hours searching offices on each floor of the Capitol.
Among the offices searched was that of Republican Senate President Ben Stevens, the son of Sen. Ted Stevens, R-Alaska.
Agents left Stevens’ Capitol office Thursday evening with 12 boxes of documents labeled “Evidence” and loaded them into a vehicle.
Frankly, I’m unimpressed. (Tempted to make “the penal system is a series of tubes” jokes, but unimpressed.) It’s all so derivative… and misses some of the key elements of our scandal. Where are the drugs? The unbelievably lengthy trial delays? The teased-out contents of search warrants?
We can kick Alaska’s ass on this, folks … but we have to all get on board. And it’s got to start with the province’s media. The folks who so tenaciously dogged every step, real and imagined, in the Bingogate scandal and Glen Clark trial have apparently stepped aside for a more docile generation; months go by without a reporter saying “Oh, yeah – whatever happened to that Basi guy?”
Come on. We need some BC pride here. This is a scandal. We rock at these things. If we allow Alaska to best us at this, what’s next? Wreck Beach relocating to Seattle? Portland becoming Douglas Coupland’s new home? Let’s get off our duffs, people.
Pieces of the puzzle: we still can't confirm if Basi, Virk, Basi and/or their lawyers showed up, or if they confirmed a trial date
Sunday, 22 Oct: Well, either I've gone blind or there's nothing in print to confirm that Basi, Virk, Basi and/or their lawyers were in B.C. Supreme Court last Friday 20th October. Not even Keith Baldrey's piece. I've tried hard not to believe that it's an agreed silence but it must be. Isn't it increasingly obvious -- as the expected trial date approaches -- that somebody for some reason would like the whole affair kept quiet?
What's the big deal about those two questions: did the accused appear in court for the pre-trial conference? did the court confirm their 4 December trial date?
When 32 police sergeants stormed the B.C. Legislature 3 years ago, it was a matter of great public concern, as it should be. But now, as the trial finally approaches, to hear nothing? This is completely contrary to the function of a free press in a democratic society.
British Columbians have a right to know -- no, they have a duty to know what's going on. And neither the judiciary nor the mainstream press are fulfilling their part of this social contract (for which we pay them well), by deciding we don't need to know a thing about the upcoming trial of the century. I dunno about you, but I'm beginning to damwell resent it.
- BC Mary
On 20 Oct., Bill Tieleman said:
Global TV did a piece by Keith Baldrey today - which I haven't yet seen - that
apparently confirmed much of my last column and said RCMP officer Andrew Cowan
did indeed visit the Liberal Party's BC office and did indeed request donor
info. It also said there was a court session today. Don't know if it had any
impact on the trial date.
Regards - Bill Tieleman
Kootcoot left a comment:
I just caught a bit of Keith What's his Name on Global. Unfortunately I didn't catch it right from the start. But what I did catch is this.
There seemed to be a question raised about the Special Prosecutor (Bernadino?) perhaps having some personal connection to Spider Man Bornman - Spec Pros said he (Bornman) may have attended a lecture he (Spec Pros) gave - as a law student or something to that effect. In other words nothing smelling of a conflict. Something smells of a stall though and a change of Special Prosecutor could hardly slow down something that seems already to be either stationary or moving backwards.
Keith doesn't think the trial will go ahead in December, he thinks not till next Spring at the earliest. This is really really really starting to suck and blow.
Keith pointed out that Virk had had TWO babies (his wife I presume) since the Raid on the Leg. Tough life, must be hard raising a family as an accused criminal, NOT.
Keith also said that unbeknownst (how unsual) to the public the RCMP raided the offices of the BC Fed Lib Party in March or May of 2005 or 2006 and seized financial records. Apparently this is the first anyone outside of God has heard of this.
And the remarkable DL comments:
I took a look at the Supreme Court page awhile back. seems they have a new system of court reporting and it isn't working just yet. I'm not convinced it's a stall, they are short of everthing in courthouses.
Last time I was at a trial , the date was set for Duncan. we all showed up to find that the judges were backed up for about a year. This lawyer couldn't go that day, try another, can't get the judge that day lets flip a coin.
The long and the short was that about six months later it ended up in the Nanaimo Supreme Court and the case was held, the decision came out shorly thereafter.
WE were quite happy with the results and impressed with the judge, who didn't look down on the ordinary folks appearing. Shutting down court houses don't make things go faster and we all know who shut down courthouses. Gordo.
Many thanks to these contributors ... I'll try to find the Keith Baldrey article.
Saturday, October 21, 2006
Steve's missing comment on 20 Oct 2006
Today, Sat., 21 Oct., Steve Dockeray's comment reached me by ordinary e.mail. He said:
hi i left a bunch of info yesterday that linked Asian , Indo & Mexican gangs to people involved in the ledge raid . could you please explain why you pulled the info from this post ?steve dockeray, Milner BC Canada
- Posted by Anonymous to The Legislature Raids at 10/21/2006
Needless to say, I did not pull the info ... and when I went to my blog to reply to Steve, I couldn't get on.
The whole thing was frozen. I was locked out.
I went to other blogs, frozen too.
I didn't want to think what I was thinking ... but was very relieved, after a couple of hours, when the whole system snapped back to normal.
So Steve ... I found your comments in the segment titled "Words to Remember" ... so it looks as if you were caught in the same technical problems. Thanks for writing ... I hope you comment again soon.
Thursday, October 19, 2006
Friday 20 October in BC Supreme Court
A reminder ... Friday 20 October 2006 is the Basi, Virk, Basi pre-trial conference date, in Vancouver Supreme Court, probably at 9:45 AM.
A pre-trial conference is when the court requires the parties to attend at a conference to discuss issues prior to commencement of the trial.
The Basi, Virk, Basi trial date is tentatively set for December 4, 2006 ... in Vancouver.
[from Stan Lowe, Crown Counsel, Criminal Justice Branch, Office of the Attorney General, in reply to questions]
Be there, if you possibly can. Tell us what you see and hear. A lawyer friend tells me that pre-trial conferences can take place in the judge's chambers where the public never sees anything. Well ... even that would be interesting to find out, because there is a serious need building up in the farthest reaches of British Columbia to hear all, all, alll about it.
Google "Court Services Online" then, on the daily court lists, select Supreme Court, then Vancouver. On the actual day of Friday, October 20, it should list Udhe Basi, Bob Virk, Aneal Basi, and will confirm the date and location.
Tuesday, October 17, 2006
New questions but Federal (Martin) Liberals and RCMP are tight-lipped
Bill Tieleman West Star Communications
24 Hours Column - News, Views & Attitude
More questions afoot
Published 17 Oct 2006 - 24 Hours
By BILL TIELEMAN
Did the RCMP approach the federal Liberal Party of Canada in B.C. in March 2005 looking for information regarding the Paul Martin leadership campaign in connection with the upcoming B.C. Legislature raid trial?
Did the RCMP visit LPC B.C. headquarters itself in their search for more documents to be used in the trial of former provincial B.C. Liberal ministerial aides David Basi and Bob Virk? Or is all of the above a red herring rumour that never occurred?
One thing is clear - neither the federal Liberal Party nor the RCMP want to talk about it.
24 hours contacted both the RCMP and the LPC B.C. after getting a tip from a source that the police had an interest in some aspect of the Paul Martin leadership campaign in B.C. as part of their investigation - and that it happened well after Basi and Virk were first charged with breach of trust in December, 2004.
But like so many other aspects of this troubling case that began with a police search of the B.C. Legislature on Dec. 28, 2003, answers are very hard to come by.
"The party at this time - we're not going to comment on the issue," LPC B.C. Executive Director Mark Grant told me last week. "Because it's a matter that is under investigation we're not prepared to comment. If the RCMP wants to comment on it, it's up to them."
But guess what? They don't.
"I spoke to the commercial crime people and they tell me it's an ongoing investigation with no other details," said RCMP spokesman Corporal Pierre Lemaitre. "We don't discuss any ongoing investigation basically to not have any effect on the investigation."
One can only hope that eventually all will come out when Basi, Virk and Aneal Basi, David's cousin who is facing money laundering charges, have their day in court starting Dec. 4. David Basi was a federal Liberal leadership supporter of Paul Martin and connected to other leadership campaign backers, including lobbyist Erik Bornman, who will be a crown witness against Basi.
Unfortunately this case has faced repeated and lengthy delays, the most recent coming on Sept. 18 in B.C. Supreme Court.
David Basi's lawyer Michael Bolton explained the latest delay in an interview.
"Basically the defence is still awaiting some disclosure and we requested some further time and the judge put the hearing over to Oct. 30*," Bolton said, adding that there will also be an appearance on Oct. 20 to discuss trial scheduling issues.
Meanwhile, more questions, more mystery.
Hear Bill Tieleman Mondays at 10 a.m. on CKNW's Bill Good Show.
E-mail Bill at: email@example.com
* BC Mary understood this Hearing date to be October 20. Bill checked with Michael Bolton. Bill e.mailed again: "Bolton has been quite cooperative when I've inquired and he explained that Oct 20 was a scheduling meeting only." So it appears that there are two dates in Vancouver Supreme Court for Basi, Virk, and Basi: Oct. 20 and Oct. 30. Many thanks, Bill.
Monday, October 16, 2006
One of the most powerful non-elected officials in the B.C. government: Dave Basi
How Big a Scandal
The Tyee - 30 Dec. 2004
... The role that Ministerial Assistants play varies widely, depending on the talents, personalities and attitudes of both the various cabinet ministers and their aides. Some appear to be relatively low on the totem pole, doing little more than preparing briefing notes and meeting with disgruntled citizens that the minister has no time for.
Others come to occupy positions of significant power within their ministries, dealing with sensitive files and materials, and working closely with the minister in developing and implementing policy. That was the case with Basi. He was seen as [Finance Minister Gary] Collins's right-hand man, with a particular eye for the electoral implications of the financial decisions being made in government.
Because Collins also serves as Government House Leader during legislative sessions, Basi was also prominent in deciding the timing of legislation and the organization of the House's sitting days. He was widely considered one of the most powerful non-elected officials in the government.
Basi held extra sway because he was also one of the people who had influence over both the provincial and federal wings of the Liberal party.
A passionate supporter of Paul Martin, he'd been deeply involved in ensuring several B.C. ridings returned Martin delegates during the voting process as well as helping to organize events and fund-raise for the Martin campaign. He and his team of "Basi's Boys" were widely credited for engineering the takeover of former cabinet minister Herb Dhaliwal's riding by Martin supporters ...
Full story: http://thetyee.ca/News/2004/12/30/Raids_How_Big_a_Scandal
Friday, October 13, 2006
Delays can force judges to dismiss charges
B.C. courts facing serious backlogs [and BCGEU replies to that]
Slow justice: Trial delays could put B.C. criminals back on the street
Neal Hall, Vancouver Sun
Friday, October 13, 2006
Criminal trial delays of a year or more in some of B.C.'s busiest provincial courts are precariously close to the point where a judge could decide to dismiss charges and set criminals free because of unreasonable trial delays -- a right enshrined under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
B.C. Attorney-General Wally Oppal said such delays are unacceptable and undermine public confidence in the justice system.
"I'm very much concerned because there's no better way of losing public confidence in the system than having lengthy delays in the trial process," said Oppal, a former judge whose ministry budget is nearly $500 million a year to run the justice system .... Full story in today's Vancouver Sun.
Is this leading up to a dismissal of the Basi, Virk, Basi trial? Tentatively scheduled for 4 December 2006, it's well beyond the acceptable time lapse discussed in this lengthy report. Recommended reading for anyone interested in these determinant aspects of the justice system. [Recommended also in today's Sun, the rare interview with retiring Judge Mary Southin, which tells us a lot, too, but somehow manages to avoid the two critical words: organized crime.]
Full story of the BC courts' overload at:
An inside view of Wally Oppal's statements [sent to all CanWest newspapers):
Any error resulting in a wrongful arrest or imprisonment (Clerical errors blamed for wrongful arrests, Nanaimo Daily News, Oct. 10.) is more than disturbing. But what have B.C. Attorney General Wally Oppal or his B.C. Liberal government done to lessen the chance of this happening?
Since May of 2002 the Campbell government has closed courtrooms, and consolidated or downgraded others to circuit court status. At the same time the numbers of criminal or legal matters before the courts have undisputedly increased.
But has there been a corresponding increase in staff to handle the additional load? No just the opposite. In fact this past summer the government laid off an additional 40 court workers and deputy sheriffs around the province.
The reality is that B.C. has fewer courts, making for heavier schedules in the courts that are open, with fewer staff handling more volumes. It hardly takes a government review or a law degree to figure out that there are going to be problems.
In B.C. the application of justice will be open to human error until our government decides that the risk of understaffing and underfunding our legal system is too high.
Chair, Administrative Services Component
2994 Douglas St
Victoria BC V8T 4N4
Thursday, October 12, 2006
"He's still technically a police officer."
Former Victoria police Constable Ravinder Singh Dosanjh awaits sentencing, after being found guilty of obstruction of justice.
... After hearing about the verdict yesterday, Victoria police Chief Paul Battershill said that members of the force "are sad for Rob and his family. He was well regarded here."
But, he added: "There's also some realization that the department was able to deal with it properly when it came to our attention."
Dosanjh, who was suspended without pay from the Victoria police department in January 2005, still faces a Police Act investigation, which will eventually be reviewed by the police complaint commissioner.
"The police act has to proceed because of his employment status," said Battershill. "He's still technically a police officer."
- from "Victoria cop obstructed justice" Times Colonist, 12 October 2006
Victoria officer guilty of obstruction
Cousin advised to lie about ownership of $35,000 of suspected drug cash
Gerry Bellett, Vancouver Sun
Thursday, October 12, 2006
Former Victoria police officer Ravinder Singh Dosanjh has been found guilty of obstruction of justice for counselling his cousin to lie about the ownership of $35,000 in suspected drug money found in his cousin's home during an undercover operation that would eventually lead police to raid the B.C. legislature.
Provincial Court Judge Carol Baird Ellan, sitting in North Vancouver, dismissed claims by Dosanjh that his taped telephone conversation with his cousin Mandeep Sandhu on Dec. 9, 2003, was an attempt to console him and give him "false hope" that he would get the money back.
The conversation came after police raided Sandhu's home earlier that day and confiscated the cash and three ounces of marijuana.
According to evidence, Victoria police had suspected Sandhu of being a drug dealer since the late 1990s and friends within the department had warned Dosanjh-- who was on the force 13 years -- to stay away from his younger cousin.
By early 2003 the department came to fear that Dosanjh was leaking information to his cousin and set up an undercover operation with the assistance of the RCMP's anti-corruption unit.
Although Dosanjh was given a dozen opportunities to feed false information to his cousin and other associates there was no indication Dosanjh crossed the line, said Ellan.
The investigation was wound down in the fall of 2003 but wiretaps were still in place on both Sandhu and Dosanjh's phones. It was those wiretaps that captured their conversation concerning the raid on Sandhu's home.
A transcript of the wiretap shows Dosanjh asking his cousin if the police found anything.
He tells him they found over $30,000 in cash.
Dosanjh says he shouldn't have kept the money at home and tells him to say it belonged to his dad. He later advises him to say it belongs to his uncle or to say he'd been saving it up over the years.
Dosanjh told the court that his family expected him to do something and had the events occurred in India, he would be expected to get rid of the whole problem, but he told them he could not and would not do that.
Ellan said it was clear from the conversation that "Dosanjh believed the cash was proceeds of crime."
He said the language used by Dosanjh was not merely suggestive but positive advice.
"At the end of the conversation Dosanjh left Sandhu armed with advice that if accepted and acted upon would obstruct justice," said the judge.
The investigation that began with Dosanjh and Sandhu led to the raid on the B.C. legislature Dec. 28, 2003. That was followed by breach of trust charges against ministerial aides Dave Basi and Bob Virk, whose offices at the legislature were searched.
Both await trial.
Dosanjh, who was dismissed from the Victoria police department, left the courthouse with family members. He told reporters he had nothing to say. A number of his family were in tears.
A date for a sentencing hearing has yet to be set.
Monday, October 09, 2006
Words to remember
"I can say in general that the spread of organized crime just in the past two years has been like a cancer on the social and economic well-being of all British Columbians."
-- RCMP spokesperson Sgt. John Ward, after search warrants were executed at the B.C. legislature, December 2003
Friday, October 06, 2006
Corruption charges raise doubts about the whole BC Rail deal
BC Rail corruption charges raise doubts about whole deal
By Paul Willcocks - Paying Attention
23 Dec '04
VICTORIA - The charges alleging corruption in the BC Rail sale are very bad news for the Liberal government.
The talk around the legislature for months has been that there was less to the case than meets the eye. Charges - if there were any - would be petty offences, based on the boastful tendencies of would-be political wheels.
Wrong. The charges are explicit, and raise doubts about the legitimacy not just of the sale of BC Rail's Roberts Bank spur, but of the whole $1-billion deal to sell the Crown corporation ...
They are just unproven charges. But they are very serious, taking the case far beyond the Roberts Bank spur or allegations that provincial government staffers tried to trade favours in return for jobs with the Paul Martin Liberals.
Most seriously the Crown is alleging Basi and Virk "recklessly put at risk the bidding process" for BC Rail by leaking confidential government documents and other information. Their actions defrauded taxpayers, CN Rail, CP Rail and CIBC World Markets, the financial institution arranging the sale, the prosecutors charge.
This charge isn't about the Roberts Bank spur line sale, a $70-million side deal. It alleges that the whole controversial sale of the Crown corporation was compromised, and taxpayers - among others - lost out as a result.
Transportation Minister Kevin Falcon killed the Roberts Bank deal - at a cost of $1 million to taxpayers - after police warned him it had been compromised.
But Falcon always maintained there were no worries or concerns about the main BC Rail deal. Now you have to decide who was right - the minister or the police and Crown prosecutors who conducted a 15-month investigation.
The government has maintained, the concern was that OmniTRAX had the inside track, and the company didn't even succeed in winning the competition to buy BC Rail. That should show no harm was done.
But no matter who wins, a compromised bidding process - as alleged by the charges - hurts taxpayers and the participants that don't have inside information. If even one participant is moved to reduce its offer because of something it knows, or fears, the whole bidding process goes wrong.
And the Crown is suggesting that is exactly what happened, and that you lost as a result.
... The case will move slowly through the courts, and information will gradually emerge.
But meanwhile a huge, controversial and defining deal of the Liberals' first term is under a dark cloud. The Crown says the deal was criminally compromised and the government did not succeed in dealing with the damage.
Sooke A.L.R. allegations
Allegations arise [4 April '06] from police raid on legislature
Lindsay Kines and Jeff Rud
The police raid of the B.C. legislature two years ago has led to new allegations that a former government aide took $50,000 to help grease the wheels of a massive housing development in Sooke.
David Basi, former assistant to then-finance minister Gary Collins, faces three counts of defrauding government and one of breach of trust. Two local developers linked to the 700-home Sunriver Estates project face the same four charges.
Basi allegedly took the money between Jan. 1, 2002, and Sept. 1, 2003, in connection with an application by Shambrook Hills Development Corp., also known as Sunriver Estates Ltd., to remove farmland from the agricultural land reserve.
Anthony Ralph (Tony) Young and James Seymour (Jim) Duncan are accused of paying the $50,000 to Basi. Duncan is listed in company records as one of the directors of Sunriver Estates, and Tony Young is listed on Sunriver's voice-mail directory at its Victoria office.
RCMP spokesman Staff Sgt. John Ward said the Sunriver charges stem from the Dec. 28, 2003, raid on the legislature. "This information came to light as a result of that investigation," he said.
Basi already faces other corruption charges linked to the raid. Search warrant documents released Monday allege he was paid about $24,000 by a lobbyist in exchange for government information and documents.
Basi, 39, appeared briefly in Victoria provincial court Monday on the new charges and was remanded to April 27, his lawyer Michael Bolton said.
"I can't say too much because I don't have any disclosure with regard to these charges," Bolton said. "But I can tell you that they seem to embrace an allegation that Dave Basi influenced a decision or decisions of the Agricultural Land Commission. And on behalf of Dave Basi, I can simply say that: No. 1, he had no connection with the Agricultural Land Commission ... No. 2, he had no ability to influence decisions of the Agricultural Land Commission and, thirdly, it is his position that at no time did he pretend to have influence on the decisions of the Agricultural Land Commission."
Neither Duncan nor Young could be reached for comment Monday.
But Norm Eden, one of the partners in the project, told the Times Colonist three years ago that Sunriver would probably average out at $250,000 a home over the life of the development, giving the 155-hectare subdivision a total built-out value of about $175 million. The Times Colonist story said the developers took about six months in 2002 to have some parts of the project removed from the agricultural land reserve, with 57 hectares left undeveloped as park, trails and green space.
Sooke Mayor Janet Evans expressed shock at the latest allegations. '"Oh no, oh no," she said, when told about them. "Oh dear. Well, that's not good. That's not good at all."
Evans, who was a councillor at the time, recalled Sunriver developers approaching council to remove the former Philip farm property from the land reserve about four years ago. She believes council passed the request along to the Agricultural Land Commission without a recommendation.
The commission allowed some of the land to be removed, Evans said. The developers then applied to council for rezoning and the development permit.
"It's a nice subdivision and we were thrilled to get it," she said. "There's still quite a bit of ALR land left in there, because the soil conditions were good, and that was our understanding when it was removed, that [the commissioners] have the expertise [on] what they took out and what they left in.
"Council, obviously, and the community, obviously, thought that that was a good project for us. And it's been successful. They've won some awards, and the district's got some beautiful parkland out of it, and trails and the school site. It's unfortunate if they went about it that way, if those accusations are true."
Agriculture Minister Pat Bell said a ministerial assistant in the Finance Ministry would have no influence on decisions by the Agriculture Land Commission. He said he has no plans to review the commission's work, noting that the RCMP have raised no concerns about the commission. "If the RCMP were to bring that forward to me, I'd be happy to consider that," he said.
Wednesday, October 04, 2006
If you start to think it's no big deal ...
From: Nathanson Centre for the Study of Organized Crime and Corruption
York University, Toronto
B.C. marijuana is financing guns being used by Afghan insurgents, according to the province's top law enforcement official.
Solicitor General Rich Coleman told the Vancouver Board of Trade that weapons used in Afghanistan were tracked and the trail led back to the sale of B.C. marijuana.
Asked later by reporters how he knew this, Coleman said he has been briefed by organized crime agencies and police in the province, the United States, and other countries.
There are guns in Afghanistan that were smuggled through Canadian ports, Coleman said.
Commenting on the solicitor general's remarks, RCMP spokesman Sgt. John Ward said that police know the proceeds of marijuana sales are used to finance other illegal activities and that the drug is also used to barter for other illegal commodities, such as weapons.
“It is a concern for us and it's an issue we need to deal with,” Ward said, adding that marijuana moving from B.C. is part of a vast, lucrative bartering system by organized crime groups stretching from North American to Central America and potentially overseas.
Source: Vancouver Sun. “Solicitor general links B.C. marijuana to guns in Afghanistan.” January 30, 2004.
For much more information, click on: www.yorku.ca/nathanson/CurrentEvents/2004_Q1.htm
Tuesday, October 03, 2006
4 December 2006 is the tentative trial date scheduled for Basi, Virk and Basi
In an e-mail letter dated 2 Oct. 2006, Mr Stan Lowe from the B.C. Attorney General's office answered my question as follows:
I have received for reply your e-mail of September 21, 2006 to the Honourable Wally Oppal, Attorney General, in which you request the trial date scheduled for Dave Basi, Bob Virk and Aneal Basi.
20 October 2006 is the tentative pre-trial conference date. A pre-trial conference is when the court requires the parties to attend at a conference to discuss issues prior to commencement of the trial.
The trial date is tentatively set for December 4, 2006.
Thank you for writing.
Criminal Justice Branch.
Two more questions were sent:
* where are the conference and the trial to be held, Victoria or Vancouver?
Answer just received: conference and trial to be held in VANCOUVER.
* when and where is the A.L.R. trial for Basi, Duncan, Young expected to be?
Answer just received: A.L.R. trial scheduled for VICTORIA but no date yet.
Remember CanWest not reporting on the Ravinder Dosanjh trial? Well ... only 5 days after the event ... 5 days later! ... they wrote up the story! No kidding. DPL, a worthy Citizen Journalist, has brought it to our attention in the Comments section. Interesting, eh? Why did Times Colonist wait? Why did they feel they had to print after all, despite an embarrassingly lengthy delay?
Sunday, October 01, 2006
BC Mary hears a discouraging word
BC Mary said...
Anon, Anon, dear Anon ... you have never seen me speak of punishment for Basi, Virk or Basi. Never. Not once. Not a syllable.
It went through me like a knife, when you said "let us ... dispense with the hangem high rhetoric." You've never seen or heard words like that, from me. Never, never. Not once. Jeez, that gives me the willies.
Let me say it again: my goal is to hear the facts of this situation given at trial, under oath, with cross-examination ... and "at trial" is the only way we're going to hear the truth of that situation.
I've said that Basi & Virk are the door-openers. I've said that they could do British Columbia an enormous favour if they tell us what went wrong, so we can fix it up, clean it up. I've said that I've never believed they acted alone, no matter what they did. And I've said over and over that it's the network of corruption which needs to let the sun shine in.
Further, I've deplored the torture Basi & Virk must have suffered as a result of this 3-year delay. I profoundly disagree with the commentor (was it you?) who said that they have come to terms with the disgrace. Only the trial will allow them that relief.
It's worrying that you can leap to such heavy conclusions as to find them guilty of other crimes as well, and yet you've already decided on a light sentence for them. A former Socred B.C. Minister of Forests went to jail for bribery; his wife had to work in a sawmill to support their family while he was incarcerated. You've decided that a Ministerial Aide deserves better treatment?
"Let us wait and see ..." you say. Are you sure? Do ya really think we can fold our hands, watch the sunsets, whistle a happy tune and justice will be done on our behalf?
If nothing else, the Editor-in-Chief lady demonstrated that the powerful don't even know that there is such a thing as "the public interest" ... they don't even know that we, the public, should be informed of basic facts of provincial affairs.
I'm going to stop now ... and not because I have nothing more to say ... hell no, but because I need to go and kick a wall or something. I can't believe you said all that stuff.
September 27, 2006
Didn't mean to upset you.
September 27, 2006
BC Mary said...
Throughout my life, I've heard men say that to women. If a guy states the case (as he sees it) strongly, that's a good thing; we assume he has reached a valid conclusion.
If a woman states the case (as she sees it) strongly ... and [forgive me] ... if the guy has no adequate response ... well, the attack switches gears ... discussion stops ... because (he says) she is "upset".
Passionate, yes. Upset, no.
I'm no more upset now, than I was almost 3 years ago when 32 policemen laid seige to the premises of our elected officials.
I think every Canadian should be upset to realize that Mr Dithers and/or the Campbell government may possibly have been foisted upon us by means other than natural voting selection.
We all should be upset that Organized Crime may be freely strolling the corridors of the B.C. Legislature, making decisions, offering bribes, or worse.
We should be upset if the day comes when we can't get anything done without paying a bribe.
We should be upset when the honour and ethics of the public service may possibly be bent to suit the underground agenda.
We should all be upset to consider that precious public assets may possibly be sold off at low, low prices, to suit this underground agenda.
How can you be so sure this -- and more -- isn't happening?
Or do you believe that Basi & Virk provide a useful diversion -- perhaps even a cover -- so that these delicious sources of uncontrolled power and privilege may continue for those in the know? It'd be easy to suggest that if we punish Basi, Virk & Basi, that's all there is to the story. That isn't true, though, is it.
E.g., where exactly do you think that $6 BILLION cash is going, each year, from the sale of BC Bud alone? Who decides to reduce the police budget while gang crime is expanding? Why aren't the increasing casino crimes being investigated?
Please don't clam up on me. This discussion is one of vital interest to us all. The worst thing that can happen now -- and appears to have begun to happen -- is if the CanWest/Campbell policy of withholding information creates such a vacuum in BC lives, that some of us will unthinkingly be sucked into the black hole and begin to take sides with the perps.
Please write again. I'm up for it, thanks.
Trial is over for former Constable Ravinder Dosanjh. Judgment expected in 2 weeks
Former officer's advice was just 'musings,' court hears
Ex-Victoria constable told his cousin to lie about source of $30,000
By Mark Hume
The Globe and Mail - 30 Sept. 2006
VANCOUVER -- A former Victoria police constable who is a background figure in a criminal investigation that led to raids on the British Columbia Legislature sat quietly in court yesterday while lawyers argued about whether he's guilty of obstruction of justice.
Ravinder Singh Dosanjh is accused of counselling his cousin, Mandeep Sandhu, to lie to police about the source of $30,000 that was seized by investigators during a raid of Mr. Sandhu's house on Dec. 9, 2003.
The court heard that police believe the cash is drug money.
The Sandhu raid was part of a larger investigation into drugs, money laundering and organized crime that, on Dec. 28, 2003, led police to the legislative offices of David Basi and Bob Virk, top aides in the Liberal government.
Mr. Sandhu was part of a group of B.C. Liberal Party fixers who were known in political circles as "Basi's Boys." One of their strengths was the ability to quickly sign up supporters for candidates.
Charges of fraud and breach of trust against Mr. Basi and Mr. Virk, which flowed from the raid on the legislature, have yet to come to trial.
Mr. Dosanjh's case did not explore the links between the two separate investigations. But police have said they went to the B.C. Legislature following leads that developed while they were investigating a case involving Mr. Dosanjh.
Mr. Dosanjh, 40, was suspended without pay from the Victoria Police Department in December of 2003 and subsequently left the force, ending a 13-year police career.
In court yesterday, defence lawyer Ian Donaldson argued that while his client admitted in the witness box that he told Mr. Sandhu to lie to police, he never intended for him to follow through on the advice.
He said Mr. Dosanjh was under familial and cultural obligations to help his cousin when he learned in phone calls from other relatives that Mr. Sandhu's house had been searched.
His advice to Mr. Sandhu, he said, was meant only as moral support during a moment of crisis and there was no forethought
Mr. Sandhu was part of a group of B.C. Liberal Party fixers who were known in political circles as "Basi's Boys." One of their strengths was the ability to quickly sign up supporters for candidates.
His advice to Mr. Sandhu, he said, was meant only as moral support during a moment of crisis and there was no forethought when he told his cousin to say the $30,000 was his father's.
"There must be an intention to pervert the course of justice," Mr. Donaldson argued. "It requires a willful attempt."
He said a taped phone call was central to the prosecution case, but "there's nothing about it that's planned . . . it's spur of the moment . . . this telephone call can properly be viewed as musings."
Court heard wiretaps in which Mr. Dosanjh asked Mr. Sandhu what happened in the police raid.
In earlier testimony, Mr. Dosanjh was asked by Mr. Donaldson how he would characterize the words of advice he then gave Mr. Sandhu.
"They are awful," Mr. Dosanjh said.
"It reads as if you are coaching him," Mr. Donaldson said.
"I was just trying to find out from him what happened. In essence to console him . . . more or less give him some false hope," Mr. Dosanjh said.
But under cross-examination by special Crown prosecutor William Berardino, Mr. Dosanjh struggled to explain his words.
Referring to wiretap transcripts that show Mr. Dosanjh reacting to the news $30,000 had been seized, Mr. Berardino said: "Your comment is 'Shit, that's not good.' What did you mean by that?"
Mr. Dosanjh: "It's not good for him to have cash at home."
Mr. Berardino said Mr. Dosanjh continued to probe for details about the investigation then advised Mr. Sandhu: "Just tell them that the money belongs to . . . you could say that it belongs to your dad or something . . . or just driving cab or something."
When Mr. Berardino asked Mr. Dosanjh why he'd said that, he replied: "I don't know."
In his final submission, Mr. Berardino rejected Mr. Dosanjh's claim he hadn't expected his advice to be followed and that he was only offering false hope to a relative.
"This is not false hope, this is a false statement aimed at the investigation," Mr. Berardino said.
Addressing the court, Mr. Berardino said: "Did he know there was a criminal investigation? Yes. Did he know that the statement he was advising was false? Yes . . . Did he know that he was creating a risk [of perversion of justice]? The answer overwhelmingly has to be yes, because the statement he was giving Mandeep was the basis for a brilliant defence.
"He told him to say it . . . and he told him when to say it, and this is after a long, long conversation in which all the details of the investigation are being probed."
The trial concluded yesterday. A judgment is expected in about two weeks.
[Special thanks to The Globe and Mail, Canada's national newspaper owned by Bell Media for publishing this story, and to Mark Hume for reporting it. I did not see this story in any of the CanWest newspapers. Did anyone? "When there is news, we plan to report it," said Times Colonist. Good one, eh?]