Friday, November 10, 2006
Never a mistrial ... in 50 years
Sincere thanks to the lawyer who freely gave the following information when a concerned friend asked about mistrials. - BC Mary
I have been a trial lawyer for over 50 years and never a mistrial...I have had to make my beefs in advance of the trial and had them ruled on, so unlikely that there would be any new item that would result in mistrial-new trial.
Mistrial does not help the accused, they just have to go thru the agony of yet another trial. Remember the Killer Kelly=Virk murder trials.
This is a tempest in a teapot. Death of a juror used to be a problem, but in most serious, long trials there are alternate jurors who sit in, but only vote if one of the jury dies.
Actually, I couldn't seem to find out exactly what "mistrial" meant ... and am still unclear as to its effect on the accused and upon the long-suffering strangers standing outside looking in: the general public.
So our anonymous friend, this morning, dispels much of that mystery: mistrial means that everything starts over from Square One. Is that correct?
I can't help seeing these things in layman's terms. So I can't for the life of me understand Wally Oppal's reckless comments in any sense other than that he was knowingly trying to influence the BasiVirkBasi trial; and, I feared, to get rid of it. Please tell me I'm mistaken.
On a minor note: As one of the strangers standing outside, looking in, trying to figure out what damage is being done to my province, I think we (the public) have been remarkably calm, steady, patient, and forebearing despite our anxiety.
British Columbians could do with a little "extreme hype", if you ask me. Did you ask me?
Thanks again for writing in, Tim.
I'd like to hear from Basi or Virk or Basi too but is that realistic? In fact, would we want them tried in the press, rather than under oath at trial? I'd very much like to hear them tell their story; to give a stout defense of their actions, and to hear it cross-examined. But first of all, I want to hear the Special Prosecutor's statements.
I understand that Dave Basi gave an interview to Keith Baldrey a year or two ago, but as yet I haven't uncovered it.
The RCMP sure isn't going to give out their evidence. Don't they just turn it all over to the prosecutor?
As for the government (BC premier, Canada's then-Prime Minister), don't you remember? they've spoken: "I know nothing." And "Well, the police haven't contacted ME."
Most especially, I recall what these two guys didn't say. Things like, "Rest assured, we're looking into this ..." And/or "We won't rest until we're certain that any problem areas are cleared up." Normal things you'd say to any grieving victims of a disaster.
But like strangers with our noses pressed to the windows, the general public keeps trying to understand what's going on in the inner, ruling circles. It's an offensive way to uphold justice in a democratic country like this.
And that's what this blog is all about. And I appreciate your participation.
If so, why is the defence complaining that Bill Berardino isn't handing over documents?
More questions: I'd like to be able "to go to court on my own time and listen to what transpires," too, as you do. Last June, I tried to do that in Victoria and even though BVB were listed on the Court bulletin board for the day I was there, in courtroom 101, I never saw them.
Weeks later, when trying to connect with the pre-trial conferences on 30 Oct., I was only able to find that date by writing directly to the AG's office; but on the actual day, BVB weren't listed at all ... only "John Doe" was listed in a clump of 8 ... which I assume covered Basi Virk Basi and the charges. A cover-up, for some reason, which in my opinion was reflected in the hostile attitude displayed when Robin attended and had to ask for documents.
So my question is: have you encountered such difficulties? If so, how have you worked around them?
For example, are you sure that Basi Virk Basi will be in Vancouver Supreme Court on 4 December? Or that Judge Bennett will hold a public hearing on Nov. 13 and that you can attend?
It has all become a blur in my mind, not clear at all. But I still think it should be crystal clear, with doors wide open, so that any citizen can watch such significant proceedings as they unfold -- not translated by a media which has a known bias.
A point of clarification......
Mr Tieleman said:
"OmniTRAX, in a consortium with Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway, CP, and CN were all bidders on the Roberts Bank rail line, estimated to be worth up to $70 million."
Was OmniTRAX truly part of a single consortium bidding for the Spur or was each of the companies listed, or a subset of them, actually competing for the spur.
If it was the latter rather than the former does this mean that the deal that was stopped is the one that was truly competitive?
And if that is the case it would do more to support, rather than refute, the quid pro quo hypothesis that Vaughn Palmer entertained last week.
I will try to find out. You've asked Bill Tieleman?
There were multiple bidders on the Roberts Banks spur line, plus a consortium. Sorry I dashed off before noting the source. Let me know if you need it. Here's the clue:
... Falcon said the RCMP met March 1 with Chris Trumpy, who sits on the committee evaluating bidders on the Roberts Bank deal. He said the RCMP provided Trumpy with information they had gathered during a criminal investigation. The information caused Trumpy "to believe that one or more of the advisers" to the bidders may have received confidential information, Falcon said.
The transportation minister said he has not spoken to the police and does not know the identities of the advisers, nor how they got the information.
Three bidders had been short-listed to buy the Roberts Bank line: Southern Railway; Macquarie and its partner OmniTRAX; and the Roberts Bank Partnership, which is a consortium that includes CN Rail, CP Rail and the Vancouver Port Authority.
I think the timing here is key. Wasn't the Roberts Bank garage sale taking place 'after' the BCRail one had been consummated?
If so, and BASI BASI AND VIRK were already out of the picture - even if they hadn't been charged - WHO were the police investigating at that time?
Why didn't the surveillance end with the dismissal of the three principals to the case?
Isn't there a huge shoe that, for some reason, isn't being allowed to drop?
Maybe, as Tim implies, it's not the main defendants who are nervous. As Mary suggested at the very beginning of this whole mess - in a piece she figuratively wrote to them before this blog ever existed - what stories do they have to tell and why, given the stress they must have been living under for the intervening years, haven't they said anything?
Has anyone from the press even approached them?
That means it was actually both (ie. consortiums with and without OmniTRAX).
Regardless, if there were, indeed, three serious bidders that means there was competition.
And if that was the case anon's question of timing becomes critical wrt the Quid Pro Quo hypothesis......
Things are or may not be as they seem.
In a case like this the switch from BBV to John Doe etc over the weekend couldn't have been anything other than a cover up - and it's a cover up the press is up to its armpits in. Why wouldn't those 'vastly experienced' court reporters have at least noted it in passing?
Who knows Mary, without your blog, the only observers in the court on that Monday morning might have been Justice department staff? The public has a right to be informed and, Bill Tieleman to the contrary, the press is letting us down.
This might be a curve-ball on the BC Rail Ripoff, just following my hunches from the hinterlands of Lillooet, but it might be fruitful to examine just who is on the CN Board. Namely the newly annointed Grand Master Philanthropist & "Chief Architect" of Microsoft corruption, Bill Gates.
Word on the street has it that he or his subsidiaries own 25% of CN stock, all told. Stevie Cameron (On The Take) lists lodge-fellow CN Board members and their Fortune 500 common interests, including Jean Sirois (CBC/Telefilm & that maddeningly masonic SIRIUS satellite), Stuart Hendin (of VIA?), Maurice Mayer (Public Works & Ports lands broker), etc.
A roughly parallel line of investigation into the Premiers Technological Council (established August 2001) shows Microsoft Canada on board for the ensuing corporate gravy train. Our former governments and services start uploading themselves not long after - into the blue ether of E-Governance. I wonder how much of that technology was supplied by Microsoft. Evil Empire, indeed!
Thanks to you all for keeping this issue on the front burner. Robin's first article had me shaking in my boots too. There is a real trauma of dread and fear involved with investigating this stuff of worst nightmare corruption. There are real consequences too - be careful and pay attention.
Gates is top CN holder
From Monday's Globe and Mail
"Already the world's richest man, Bill Gates has chugged his way to the top of another list as the largest shareholder in Canadian National Railway Co.
In a recent filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, the Microsoft Corp. chairman and founder disclosed that he holds nearly 30.91 million CN shares through Cascade Investment LLC, or a 5.8-per-cent stake now worth $1.63-billion.
That's enough to place Mr. Gates ahead of major institutional investors such as Fidelity Investments, Barclays PLC, Wellington Management Co., and the mutual fund arm of Bank of Montreal.
As well, in a $234-million joint holding with his wife, Melinda, the charitable Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation owns another 4.42 million shares in Canada's largest railway.
The Globe and Mail
In total, the Gates family's 35.33 million CN shares are worth $1.87-billion, based on their closing price of $52.92 Friday on the Toronto Stock Exchange. That works out to 6.6 per cent of Montreal-based CN's market value of $28.37-billion.
Mr. Gates has slowly but steadily emerged as the railway's top shareholder by sticking with CN and adding to his portfolio while the leading institutional investors gradually trimmed their positions in recent years.
It's unclear when he began buying CN stock, but by the fall of 2000, through Cascade, he managed to accumulate 29.7 million shares (adjusted for subsequent stock splits), securities filings show."
Meet the man who runs Bill Gates's money
Investment guru oversees $50-billion
Michael Larson doesn't grant many interviews, and he certainly wasn't talking yesterday. But then again, someone who manages money for the world's richest man and the biggest charitable foundation on the planet probably doesn't need any extra attention.
Mr. Larson, 46, runs Bill Gates Investments, or BGI for short. That includes handling Mr. Gates's personal portfolio, through a company called Cascade Investment LLC, and overseeing investments for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the largest private charity in the world.
All told, Mr. Larson manages around $50-billion (U.S.), all from a small office outside Seattle identified only as "investments" by a friendly secretary. That amount will jump by at least another $30-billion in a few years once Warren Buffett finishes donating almost his entire fortune to the Gates Foundation...
According to recent securities filings, Cascade has only a handful of substantial holdings. The largest is almost 31 million shares in Canadian National Railway Co., or roughly 6 per cent of the company, worth about $1.7-billion (Canadian). Cascade is also the second-largest shareholder in Pan American Silver and holds large stakes in Republic Services Inc., Six Flags Inc. and Mexican broadcaster Grupo Televisa SA.
Four Seasons Hotels Inc. has been among Cascade's smaller holdings, accounting for just 620,450 shares, or barely 2 per cent of the firm. But yesterday, Four Seasons announced Cascade and Saudi Prince al-Waleed bin Talal are part of a group that has launched a takeover bid that values the company at $3.4-billion (U.S.). Mr. Larson was not available for comment and Four Seasons had little to say about Cascade other than to note that it first proposed the takeover back in June. It was the second major move in the past few days for Cascade. Last Friday, the firm surfaced as a partner in an electric power venture in New Mexico worth at least $700-million.
Mr. Larson's role in the Gates Foundation is less active. Mr. and Ms. Gates plan to give most of their money away and, therefore, "they have asked BGI to manage [the foundation's assets] fairly conservatively, aiming for a 5-per-cent nominal return each year," the foundation said in its latest annual report. "Since 1999, the portfolio has earned more than that goal -- an average of 8.53 per cent a year."
Many of the Gates Foundation's holdings match those of Cascade. For example, the foundation has holdings in CN, about 4.4 million shares, and Four Seasons, roughly 2 million shares, and holds stakes in Republic and Grupo Televisa."
J. MacPhail: When was the last time the B.C. Rail deal, either the spur line to Roberts Bank or the completion of the sale of the rail line in the north, was brought to Treasury Board?
Hon. G. Collins: I'm trying to recall if and when that would have happened. B.C. Rail was, as I mentioned, a stand-alone transaction that was being led by Mr. Trumpy — and, obviously, led through the Ministry of Transportation. There were analysts, and expertise was sought from both the public and private sectors as part of that. All those issues were presented to the review committee, which was specifically designed to deal with this transaction, and then went to cabinet.
The people and analysts who would have analyzed this as it came through Treasury Board would have been similar people who worked on the file. The comptroller general would obviously have been consulted. The Deputy Minister of Finance would have been involved and any other people within the ministry or Treasury Board staff that the team thought was appropriate.
J. MacPhail: I didn't hear even a month. Can the minister consult with anybody to find out?
Hon. G. Collins: I did consult, first of all. As I said, I don't recall it coming specifically to Treasury Board as such. There was a committee or a team that was putting it together under the leadership of Mr. Trumpy and the Minister of Transportation. There were analysts that were pulled from across government and the Crown, as well as the private sector, to do the analysis of this transaction. It went to a review committee, which I described to the member yesterday. Then the entire cabinet looked at the proposal, made a review,
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determined what they wanted to do, made a decision and moved forward with it.
J. MacPhail: I'm actually quite taken aback. Is there no Treasury Board decision minute on the B.C. Rail deal?
Hon. G. Collins: We'll try and determine that for the member. I'm not aware of one.
J. MacPhail: It didn't go to cabinet for final approval before the big frou-frou public announcement by the Premier. The cabinet meeting occurred — because I went through these Hansard debates yesterday — before CP Rail made its accusations of unfairness on the bid. The minister doesn't know if there was a Treasury Board minute. Where is the decision point on this deal, and when was it?
Hon. G. Collins: I've described the process to the best of my knowledge, as well as the role of Treasury Board and the staff that might have been in the Ministry of Finance. I know the member had that discussion with the Minister of Transportation in the fall. If she wants to pursue that discussion further, she should take it up with the Minister of Transportation in his estimates.
J. MacPhail: No, no. That's not my question. Where is the decision to spend money? Where is that decision point?
Hon. G. Collins: We're actually making a billion dollars on this transaction.
J. MacPhail: No. Oh, honestly. What a ridiculous statement for the minister to make. What an absolutely ridiculous statement. Is it on that basis that he decided not to take it to Treasury Board then — because he can't remember? Isn't it funny? A billion dollars either making or spending, and he can't remember where the decision point was.
Can we just take a pause here, and then the minister can consult with his deputy minister? Is the deputy minister still secretary to the Treasury Board?
Hon. G. Collins: I've described the process to the best of my knowledge. The member had a full discussion with the then Minister of Transportation at the time about the cabinet decision on this issue. I discussed it a bit yesterday with the member, again to the best of my knowledge. It was a decision of all of cabinet. That's the final decision-making body of government. Cabinet said: "Go do this transaction. There are these few things we want you to deal with. If you can make that happen, then make the deal." That was a decision.
J. MacPhail: Was the minister at the cabinet meeting?
Hon. G. Collins: Yes.
J. MacPhail: What action did the cabinet take on the CP Rail letter regarding the B.C. Rail sell-off?
Hon. G. Collins: The fairness commissioner has already taken all those issues into consideration and reported on them.
J. MacPhail: Oh, I can just see it, if he were in opposition. They set up their own commission to examine how well they're doing. They limit the parameters of the fairness review, and then they say: "Oh my God, that stamp of approval. We created the stamp. The size of the stamp and the ink the stamp is going to use justifies everything we did." Wow, aren't those high standards?
Is it the minister's point, then, that the fairness commissioner looked at the CP Rail letter?
Hon. G. Collins: I believe so.
J. MacPhail: Did cabinet decide that the fairness commissioner was able to deal with CP Rail's allegations?
Hon. G. Collins: No, I believe the fairness commissioner did.
J. MacPhail: Well, the fairness commissioner said that they didn't deal with the allegations and that it was not part of their review. The fairness commissioner, in its report, said: "We did not have the right to review those kinds of allegations." Did anyone else deal with them?
Hon. G. Collins: That's why the member should be asking the Minister of Transportation these questions.
J. MacPhail: If I want to know who made the decision to cut a $750 million deal with B.C. Rail, with CN…. It ain't one billion, Mr. Chair. It's $745 million, actually, and the taxpayers are on the hook for the other $255 million in indemnity — $745 million. I'm to ask the Minister of Transportation what went on at Treasury Board, what went on at cabinet. Did the Minister of Transportation sit on Treasury Board at that time?
Hon. G. Collins: It wasn't a he; it was a she. No, she didn't.
J. MacPhail: The current one.
Hon. G. Collins: The current Minister of Transportation did at the time. I don't know whether he attended all the meetings. In fact, I know he probably hasn't attended all the Treasury Board meetings. I've already described for the member, to the best of my knowledge, how this transaction took place. If she wants to pursue it further, she should take it up with the Minister of Transportation. I've also said that the
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ultimate decision-maker was cabinet. It's always cabinet.
J. MacPhail: Yeah. Well, I assert that cabinet didn't make any decision about this deal before the deal was announced — none whatsoever. I also assert that cabinet didn't deal with CP Rail's accusations and neither did the fairness commissioner.
Nice to know Bill is so interested in the Great White North.
Why the hell are the working press in this province/in this country/ asleep at the wheel?
There's a working press in this province? You're kiddin' right?
Mary, it'd be interesting find out if there is anything to this link.
J. MacPhail: Well, I think it's even more troubling — the fact that Mr. Basi had his own sphere separate and apart from this minister in the Ministry of Finance. It's really shocking how…. Who else is given this sphere of influence in this government?
What role did CIBC World Markets play in the sale of B.C. Rail?
Hon. G. Collins: Again, I'm not the minister responsible, but they were, to the best of my knowledge, providing financial advice to Mr. Trumpy's team of advisers.
J. MacPhail: Well, in fact, the minister commented publicly on the role of CIBC World Markets when it was revealed that they made a presentation that CN would be…. I remember it as the best choice, but they clearly indicated that CN was the best choice, and it was this minister that commented on that. Can the minister remember what his comments were?
Hon. G. Collins: Yes, I think it was my first quarterly report last year in September — September 10 or 12 or something like that. My comment was that it was highly inappropriate — they were to be providing advice to the review committee, not the general public — and that we would be taking that up with them. Actually, I said I thought somebody already had taken it up with them. My understanding is that they were told that it was an inappropriate comment — that the process was not complete and that their role was to provide advice to the review team set up and led by Mr. Trumpy, not to the public.
J. MacPhail: Was it Mr. Basi that brought that to your attention about CIBC World Markets favouring CN?
Hon. G. Collins: I think it was commented on in the media, if I'm correct. I don't remember where it came from. I just remember it was public. I was asked that at the quarterly report.
J. MacPhail: Did Mr. Basi discuss that with you before your public response?
Hon. G. Collins: I don't recall, but I don't believe so.
J. MacPhail: That's interesting, very interesting. Well, there'll be more to come out on that.
Why wasn't the…?
J. MacPhail: Well, there will…. This minister claiming complete innocence around any of this is really a bit too much to bear, Mr. Chair. Completely too much to bear.
That was another great discovery.
Basi appears to have had circles of influence in several key areas.
Years ago 31 corporations picked up the tab for the election campaign of PET. One of those corps was the sugar consortium, including Rogers sugar. And in no time flat after the election the triumphant PET banned an artificial sweetener which had been making inroads on the profit margin of the sugar barons.
Do you really think it's an accident that the fish feed lot industry was charged, convicted, and fined by the courts for provable environmental sins and then the BC Liberal party REFUNDED them the cost of the fines? When has the government refunded your speeding ticket?
Do you really think Diefenbacker just woke up one morning with the bright idea to cancel the Avro arrow and destroy all the blueprints and construction notes?
Tell me you're so innocent and so naive you really believe there is no link to the proveable fact that when the Nass Valley was clearcut and some 80% of what was cut was left to rot on the ground the forester who was in charge of the wasteful sin became head forester for all of BC.
Convince me that there is no link to Pattison's political friendship with some of the most influential arstles in the province and his fish company holdings.
This whole thing is bigger than BasiBasiVirk, and it's bigger than BC Rail or Roberts Bank. And we will NEVER KNOW how big it really is because the corporations which control the "news" don't want us to know.
When the Reichman Bros ran into financial troubles they declared bankruptcy and some five million of YOUR dollars invested with the major banks vanished into thin air. And not two years later those same banks were eagerly lined up to loan these bankruptees huge sums of money. But that's just coincidental, right?
Does anyone remember the name Nelson Skalbania?
Transnational corporations are more powerful than the governments they control. The entire process from municipal elections through to the Prime Ministers office are bought and paid for by the CEO's of corporate octopii who would quite cheerfully eat your children if there was a profit in it for them.
Does anybody remember Adam Zimmerman?
Walk into ANY supermarket in B.C. and LOOK at the spuds. Read the labels on the plastic bags. We've got spuds coming in from Warshington, we've got spuds pouring in from Idaho, we've got spuds coming in from places so far away it must cost a fortune in non renewable oil just to transport them here. And where are the VanIsle spuds? Where are the Pemberton Valley spuds?
Did you know that every spud sold in a supermarket in Canada in the past ten years has been zapped by radioactivity?
We have been invaded, defeated, conquered and cut up like a Xmas mincemeat pie. And not one shot has been fired. It's actually very kind of them to allow us to still fly the maple syrup label and for those who care about such things it is also kindly of them to continue to allow us to sing O Canada, our home is native land.
BasiVirkBasi is less than the tip of the iceberg, it is only one little icicle on a monstrous chunk of frozen shite. It hardly even merits perspiration on the brow of the real wheelers and dealers.
The RCMP brass are the same ones who made damned sure none of us knew the in's and out's of the Gustafson Lake chapter in the ongoing programme of genocide in this country. You really think they are going to go to any amount of time or trouble to uncover the link between the sale of BC Rail and the Prime Ministers' office?
"Naive" is not a compliment when it is used to describe anything political.
The entire system sucks dead goats and has done for decades.
You are only going to learn what they have already decided you will be allowed to learn. And most of that is bullshit.