Wednesday, November 01, 2006
The "24 Hours" report from the courtroom
November 1, 2006
Defence aims at wiretap evidence
By IRWIN LOY, 24 HOURS
RCMP wiretaps used to snag three former government insiders accused of corruption will be attacked as part of the pending trial, a lawyer for one of the accused said yesterday.
Dave Basi, Bobby Virk and Aneal Basi were the three men charged in the aftermath of the high-profile 2003 raids on the B.C. Legislature.
Pre-trial motions this week revealed RCMP attempts to gain judicial authorization for cell-phone wiretaps. According to Dave Basi's lawyer, Michael Bolton, the affidavits used to get that authorization were "misleading, misinformed and perhaps deliberately false."
Lawyers for all three of the accused say they haven't received full disclosure of the evidence - which involves tens of thousands of pages - in the much-delayed and often secretive trial.
"[This is a] serious candidate for a miscarriage of justice or mistrial down the road because of these failures of disclosures," Bolton said.
"The last thing we want in this case is to get to the end of the trial to find there has to be a mistrial because of undisclosed documents."
But special prosecutor William Berardino insists there's been full disclosure.
Dave Basi was the senior aide to former B.C. Liberal Finance Minister Gary Collins. The closely watched trial, which was supposed to start last year, is now scheduled to begin in December.
I dunno, Bill. I found Berardino quite believable when he explained the system and process for handling the massive file of 66,000 documents. I could accept that the system took a few brain cells to figure out, but that there were no mistakes (deliberate or otherwise). You gotta admit, it was hard to imagine an experienced lawyer like Berardino making such a damfool mess of things as was described (above) by the defence on Monday. But it's the job of the defence to suggest those things, right? Check out the offsetting Berardino story. -- BC Mary.
This is where the Chief Justice has a few words about Wally Oppel
This blog has made a steady effort to balance the bits of information we've been lucky enough to dig up.
There's been no pre-judging. Right now, most of us are trying to understand the pre-trial and trial process. And I definitely don't think people should be discouraged from doing that. As you say ... we need to be fully informed. Not easy, in this case.
I was much impressed by the Special Prosecutor when his turn came to speak ... although, the day before, I had been impressed by the Defence which had made him and his team sound like rank idiots. As you say, we must listen to both sides. Plus a lot of background noise.
For example, what I'm trying to figure out right now is whether the B.C. Attorney General has gone nuts. Is he incompetent, or what ... ? I'll post the article when I can find it at the source ... but he's saying publicly things which could impinge upon the case.
The Solicitor-General refused to make a statement saying "It's before the courts ..." but old Wally, our A.G. is just blab-blab-blabbing away as if he's hanging over the back fence gossiping with neighbours.
What do you think of that?
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