Thursday, November 09, 2006
Irrational, capricious, discriminatory, elitist, and unjust, writes Robin ... and that's just B.C. Supreme Court.
The RCMP Raids on B.C. Legislature Offices (Dec. 28, 2003).
A Tide of Corruption. Second Part.
By Robin Mathews
Nothing can excuse B.C. Attorney General Wally Oppal. His comments about evidence in the Legislature Raids process (presently before the courts) are, quite simply, outrageous. Chatting "casually" (?) to reporters at the beginning of November, Oppal called into question wire-tapping procedures used before the raids. They were, as he spoke, being argued before a judge in Chambers.
The tide of corruption upon which the David Basi, Bob Virk, and Aneal Basi legal procedure floats is highlighted by Oppal's unacceptable intervention. In a legal hotchpotch such as this one, in which cabinet employees are under charge - one from the office of a former Attorney General - prudence should dictate silence on the part of Wally Oppal. The position he holds is always a highly sensitive one whatever the situation, for "the highest law officer of the Crown" is also an elected politician sitting in cabinet meetings in which many participants - in this government especially - may be working to defeat the ideals of justice.
We mustn't forget that the Attorney General of the day, in 2003, Gary Collins, [sorry, this should be "Geoff Plant" as Attorney General and Gary Collins as the Minister of Finance who employed Dave Basi - BC Mary] employed one of the men charged following the legislature raids. Nor should we forget that Collins - apparently approaching the height of his political career - chose to drop out of politics shortly afterwards.
It may be fair to say that no one in the present government is happy to see the trial going ahead. For even if elected officials escape untouched, public opinion will wonder at the miracle. It may be fair to say, too, that the men charged are not likely to be happy to see the trial going ahead, for obvious reasons. In this trial, the government of the day and the members of cabinet connected to legal functions cannot be objective or eager to see justice done.
That makes Wally Oppal's comments doubly offensive. And they point toward the argument that may destroy the case. Is Oppal preparing the ground innocently?
Why, then, is the trial being conducted? Because the Crown and the people want the process of legal action to work for the sake of democracy, justice, and the rule of law in British Columbia. But who, we have to ask, is the Crown in British Columbia?
Oppal, himself, "chief law officer of the Crown", breached the demands of dignity and prudence when he stepped from the Supreme Court into a Liberal Party candidacy. By doing so, he made a mockery of the absolute need for a clear separation to exist - and be seen to exist - between the politicians and the courts. He is a politician who was very recently a colleague of present Supreme Court judges, allowing no time to lapse between his resignation from the court and his assumption of a political role as a Liberal candidate, and now as Attorney General. Does he telephone his recent Supreme Court colleague, Madam Justice Elizabeth Bennett, who is conducting the court processes involving the men charged? Who knows?
Is there, moreover, a Gordon Campbell government agenda to undermine the courts and to cripple - for political reasons - the legal system in the Province? And, if so, is Wally Oppal assisting with that agenda?
Oppal recently attacked the Supreme Court judges about their working hours in words that Chief Justice Donald Brenner said "constitute a deliberate attempt to demean the judges of this court". (Ian Mulgrew, Vanc Sun Nov 1 06). The Campbell government, moreover, is accused - since May of 2002 - of closing courtrooms, consolidating or downgrading others, and laying off court workers and deputy sheriffs around the Province when municipalities are growing in size with the effect that larger and more reasonably accessible courts are, obviously, required. (BCGEU letter, Nanaimo Daily News Oct 13 06). Oppal has to be a supporting part of that agenda as a member of cabinet.
He is also named as one of the parties wanting the water power rights of British Columbians in the Nechako River stripped from them and granted to the foreign Private Corporation, Alcan. Clearly, against the interests of British Columbians, Oppal is working for the sleazy political ends of the government he serves (and of which he is a part).
British Columbians may well ask if they have a dangerous, partisan clown as their present Attorney General. As NDP MLA and lawyer Leonard Krog has said: "High profile prosecutions have failed in the past because politicians felt compelled to make comments in public that were later deemed prejudicial". (Media release, Nov 2)
The Crown in British Columbia does not have a distinguished presence, to say the least. Madam Justice Elizabeth Bennett, sitting on the Legislature Raids trial and hearings, was the judge in the long, long Glen Clark case. I have called for a full Royal Commission-level investigation into what I call the fraudulent investigation and trial of Glen Clark.
During the trial his counsel asked that the trial be named, in effect, vexatious, without merit, and ended. Justice Bennett refused, permitted an endless trial, and then declared that, in effect, the 29 volumes of evidentiary material, gathered over months and months by a dubious RCMP investigation, did not contain reason to believe Glen Clark was guilty of anything.
But - to the glee of the Gordon Campbell forces (the complaint against Glen Clark began in Gordon Campbell's constituency office) - Glen Clark was ruined and the NDP was savaged.
Madam Justice Elizabeth Bennett did not apologize to Glen Clark and to British Columbians for that. She said Glen Clark was innocent but was imprudent, and she slapped his wrist for his private associations when she should have apologized to him and suggested he seek remedy for the huge damage done to him and to the democratic life of British Columbia. It is almost as if she were working for the Gordon Campbell forces.
The judge who has kept much of the Legislature Raids material locked away from British Columbians is Associate Chief Justice Patrick Dohm. He issued search warrants in the Glen Clark case from a holiday spot somewhere in a foreign country. When a BCTV crew - in full readiness - arrived with the RCMP officers who had come to exercise a search warrant on Glen Clark's house, Mr. Dohm seemed unperturbed. He permitted the film of that event to be played over and over and over, depicting Glen Clark as if he were a fugitive from justice caught by the cameras.
Perhaps Patrick Dohm could not discipline BCTV for, somehow, finding out about and getting to that RCMP search. But he could have sealed the film footage. And he didn't. It is almost as if he were working for the Gordon Campbell forces.
Persistently, bullishly, and without any attempt to explain carefully and educationally to British Columbians his invasion of their right to know in the present case, Patrick Dohm locked up information "for the protection of the accused". I, for one, don't believe that explanation.
In the hearing, just over, the Application for Disclosure filed in Criminal Registry by the Defence counsel for Dave Basi, Bob Virk, and Aneal Basi, was denied to the public by Mr. Justice Patrick Dohm for, apparently, the protection of the accused. ALL such documents are denied to the public by Justice Dohm. In this case the Application for Disclosure records a fight among lawyers about evidence. That is all.
I went to Criminal Registry with a friend, early in the hearings, to obtain a copy of the Application. We were so rudely dismissed by a man who identified himself as Ian we asked to see the Directive refusing public access. It is, of course, a Directive from Mr. Justice Patrick Dohm and it directs blanket denial of public access to all such documents "to protect the accused" we were told.
I believe, rather, it is a gag order to protect the powerful against legitimate concerns of British Columbians. I say that because, otherwise, the Directive would be much more sensitive, providing a speedy screening mechanism to separate out only those rare and few instances in which information might be kept from the public (for the sake of persons' safety, etc.).
The next day my friend and I went back to Criminal Registry to inform the clerk, this time named Alpha, that Defence counsel had okayed release and was going to ask that I be shown the Application for Disclosure and some other documents. Alpha told us Criminal Registry does not answer to counsel but to Mr. Justice Patrick Dohm and would probably not do as counsel was going to request. Anyway, it would need clearance, she said. I gave my name, which she attached to her note on the matter.
To exaggerate the Patrick Dohm absurdity of Criminal Registry, a man materializes silently when people appear at Criminal registry who are as darkly suspicious and obviously lawless as my friend and me. The man sidles up to the counter, and he eavesdrops. For all I know he may then send a secret report - kept, of course, from the public - to Mr. Justice Patrick Dohm so the Associate Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of B.C. may use it. In the pursuit of justice, of course.
The next morning when I telephoned Criminal Registry, Ruth, who identified herself as in charge of the section, claimed to have seen no documents left for me (and they would have come to her, she said). She claimed to know nothing whatever. Alpha had told her nothing. Ruth had obviously not seen the note Alpha wrote. A total blank. So much for service to the people of British Columbia.
In my last column I called the event "Kafka'esque", "irrational". It is worse than that. For Mr. Justice Patrick Dohm scatters what I see as his capricious power without reason or logic. A member of the public or press may not get documents from the point of public access, the Criminal Registry of the Supreme Court. He or she is told that only active counsel may give documents. That means if counsel wishes to deny the public access to key information, it may. It means the public must leave the point of public access, search for counsel involved, and depend upon counsel's good will. It means counsel, which has definite interest in cases and their status, can provide documents - or deny them - to whomsoever it pleases. There is no objective agent which can provide, without bias or questions, materials that every Canadian has the right to receive.
It means, in short, that Mr. Justice Patrick Dohm presides over a system which is irrational, capricious, discriminatory, elitist, and unjust. It is almost as if he is working against the pursuit of justice in British Columbia and against the goals of a democratic society.
The "Crown" in the actions which have brought the Legislature Raids trial this far is a very weak reed. The question that must be before British Columbians is whether that weak reed is strong enough to stage the trial to completion and to see that justice is truly done.
I'm wondering if his description of the then-AG will stand, as written. I mean, was he thinking of Plant although his fingers typed Collins?
Did you see the Globe and Mail column by Mark Hume, dated 2 Nov., which I posted in another comments section? Talks about a lot more police surveillance.
Vive still seems inaccessible on my computer this morning...is that strange or a usual occurence?
I think we may be faced with dropping tiny leaflets with your Blog's URL printed on them from a hired plane soon.
How do you reach a public that never reads anything but the excuses we have in this province for daily papers?
Truly sad when a Toronto paper - the G&M - has better and more consistent coverage of this festering wound than all the local rags combined.
See the post from Halloween night, ironically.
You didn't agree that the RCMP should be blamed for the actions "that one selfish unethical cop makes the entire 36,000 RCMP also unscrupulous..."
Robin states that a Royal Commission should be struck to examine that shoddy investigation on a sitting Premier. I couldn't agree more.
So it is okay for Robin to make this point and to call for a Royal Commission into the investigation - you stay silent?
Robin also states that the RCMP investigation into Glen Clark was "dubious". Again I agree, do you??
Mary, please do not become the online blogin' apologist for the RCMP. There are too many examples into the blunders that this organization has made.
There needs to be broader powers for the Police Complaints Commisioner to oversee the RCMP. AS it stands right now, only the police investigate themselves - is this fair?
Come on Mary - be consistent with your positions.
Glen Clark got screwed by the media, not the cops. The judge said he was innocent but nieve. The guy was hated by many so ate up everyting written against him. The opposition of the day was hafving a field day My God just yesterday I read how the Americans were upset with him for his idea of shutting down the torpedo range by Nanoose The feds started talking of expropriating the water and the ocean floor. It is in BC waters. They were and are vocal.International trade an all that.
May I suggest that people do attend the pretrial and report what they see. any information from there helps.
Let's let this pretrial do it's course. Then the actually case will be in the papers. Most folks don't even know what a pretrial is anyway. To question harshly a person who is doing the work setting up and putting stuff on her blog site is simply not a good away to get her to keep doing the work for free. Never attack the messenger Just my thoughts. Keep working Mary and we will keep digging up stuff and pass it along. dl
Let us pose a few questions:
Why did the RCMP travel to Palm Springs to get approval for the search warrants on a sitting Premier?
Could they not have gotten authorization here in BC from another Judge?
An officer who is actively involved with the BC Liberals is not in a conflict when investigating the leader of the NDP?
Rather than "attacking the messenger" I am merely pointing out that some of the statements posed by Robin Mathews are supported by Mary when I was attacked by her for raising essentially the same viewpoints.
Bit of a stretch, on your part, though, to suggest that this taints the entire RCMP, don't you agree?
Same way, it's OK with me if there's a Royal Commission investigating the way the RCMP went about their business in the Legislature affair. Or better still, if Justice Bennett decides she must throw that evidence out rather than declare a mistrial.
But wait a minute. My self-imposed task here is to hold a steady course while we inform ourselves about the Basi Virk Basi issue -- the Bornmann Kierans issue -- the whole affair. It requires concentration. Let's focus on the facts.
Bill Tieleman has a long piece on the Legislature raids, just up on The Tyee today.
And come on yourself, I "attacked" you? Don't be so silly.
With your logic the cases of Glen Clark, Ian Bush (shot in the head in Houston BC), A Prince George RCMP officer accused of having sex with underage prostitutes, (dismissed because the investigation took too long), 81 cases of misconduct in the RCMP over the last two years (Van Sun Oct 14/06 only becoming public after an information request), a search warrant used to gain access to reporter Juliet O'Neil of the Ottawa Citizen was thrown out by a judge....
Are these all isolated incidents?
And of course, I haven't even mentioned Maher Arar...
I agree - let us focus on the facts.
We can go back to barn burning in Quebec years ago if we really want to review the forces history. No I've never been in the RCMP or a cop of any kind. But it's simply unfair to blame them for everything that goes wrong. Arar was picked up by the Americans on some guesses, that were way off base. The folks in charge of that episode is the Federal Govenment. Go tell Harper to get on the ball and while there drop in a few words for the spy master.
Basi basi and Verk is the the thread here so lets stay on it till we hear when the court case will be starting But as this is a free country I guess if somebody doesn't want to stay on topic, well!! dl
Just read his column in the Tyee. Made me feel sick. I can't believe how many people are trying to shut this process down by slamming the investigation.
Then that excellent legal opinion came in (newest item posted) which should also help to clear the air, if the Forces of Chaos are actually trying to cause a mistrial.
Anon Nov. 10 ... did you read the comments following Tieleman's Tyee article? The commentors surely gave The Legislature Raids blog a big boost, which I really appreciated.
"Mounties brace for bark from new watchdog"
By Jim Travers
Nov. 9, 2006 - Toronto Star
That's pretty easy, but when you claim that it is in "self defense," then it gets weird!
What's important, I think, is to take the next step. I mean, Step #1 is: identify the problem. Then tear our hair and howl a bit, sure, but after that ...
Maybe Step #2 should be: narrow the focus so that our energy goes most effectively into one topic, be it BC Hydro ... BC Ferries ... the next election ... or the BVB trial. Right after that, the essential next step:
Step #3: do something positive to turn things around.
Judy Tyabji, former M.L.A., in her book "Daggers Unsheathed" tells the story of how her now-husband, Gordon Wilson, was unseated as BC Liberal leader by Gordon Campbell ... as well as how Ujjal Dosanjh went on to unseat Glen Clark from the premier's office then took over the job himself (with some block voting uproars en route).
Book #2: A former B.C. Attorney General, Alex Macdonald QC, tells a similar story in a booklet entitled "A valedictory for David Stupich, Bingogate's Victim."
Macdonald shows how the main B.C. Liberal attack against Stupich was cruel and in error; also that it was led by ... (are you ready for this?) ... Gary Collins; moreover, on 23 June 2001, it was the new Attorney-General, Geoff Plant, who deep-sixed the Smith Inquiry which almost certainly would have exonerated Stupich.
And the beat goes on, as eerily, both myths live on.
and the tired old left with special interests up to its neck is sitting solidly on our education apparatus
I suppose teachers should apologize for having issues about such things as working conditions, wages, hours and curriculum. It's so shameful that they can't be totally free of selfish motives like say David Emerson and his inter-locking web of government and corporate selfless ascetics. When the Campbell Crime Family and their corporate cronies (or accesories) renounce their selfless crusade for the "common good" and start to look after their own private interests and profits then perhaps those evil Unions will come to the table and surrender their greedy attack on the poor, poor 10% or less who feel entitled to enjoying about 80% or more of the available wealth.
Media spin, Media spin, Media spin, Media spin
Unions = Special Interests
Corporations = no Special Interests
I'm sorry Mr. Anonymous, who should be embarrassed to actually use a name, but Corporations want (and have) all the rights of an individual with none of the resposibilities. Repeat after me the Campbell, Harper and Bu$h Mantra
Privatize Profits - Socialize Costs
Maybe just repeat that mantra 1000 times before going to sleep and upon awaking.
We have dealt with this business of Dohm and Bennett and wiretaps in the Cold Eye, www.coldeye.org. Here are the links to the two most on point items...
Holy smoke, my eyes are still popped out of my head ... what a blog.
Thanks for dropping in, Paddy.
Now I'm going back to The Cold Eye and read more of what you said about Justice Dohm.
Holy su ... moke ... (gasp!) ...
Glen Clark target of US military
A new book by military historian John Clearwater alleges that Canadian defense officials were in a panic about what sort of American reaction would greet then-Premier Glen Clark’s threat to shut US access to the Nanoose Bay torpedo range, off Nanaimo, BC, in 1999.
The panic—it's not clear if it was inspired by actual US threats to Canada’s economy or to the stability, even, of the Chretien regime—was behind the federal government’s decision to expropriate the military testing range.
At the time, most local pundits dismissed Nanoose Bay as in insignificant military installation, and belittled Clark for picking a pointless target to goad the US into restarting negotiations over Pacific salmon fishing treaties.
Now, it is acknowledged that Nanoose Bay is “considered the most advanced ocean weapons proving ground in the world,” according to the Globe and Mail. And Clearwater’s book says the Chretien regime worried they’d be covertly overthrown by a US plot similar to the one former Prime Minister John Deifenbaker always alleged was behind his surprising election loss to the Lester Pearson Liberals in 1963.
No evidence has been uncovered, but there can be little doubt that some sort of threat was relayed to the Chretien Liberals by the Bill Clinton Democratic regime of the day. A high-level meeting took place in the days before Chretien announced the highly rare act of expropriation to take the NDP’s Clark’s hands off the issue.
Shortly thereafter, figures associated with federal fix-it men like Jean Carl were involved in a series of scandals—none of them in the end amounting to any convictions—that brought down the Clark government in a huge crash.
Chief among them are RCMP investigator Peter Montague, who retired after the Clark deck-building scandal that he oversaw (spending over $5 million in an eventually fruitless investigation of Clark), and Ujjal Dosanjh, then the Attorney General of BC (and who went on afterward to become federal Liberal health minister).
Dosanjh was the man who announced publicly that Clark was under RCMP investigation, the act that prompted Clark’s inglorious resignation.
From The Republic of East Vancouver, 15 - 22 Nov. 06
Thanks if you do
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