Wednesday, November 15, 2006
Trial still on, next pre-trial hearing 24 Nov
With Justice Elizabeth Bennett presiding on 14 November 2006, the Basi, Virk, Basi defence team argued successfully to be allowed to enter the R.C.M.P. Project Room ... which means that the Biggest Trial in B.C.'s history has not been de-railed ... it is still on.
It's expected to take 10 days in the Project Room.
The next pre-trial hearing starts at 9:30 AM on 24 November 2006.
Given a little time to consider what he saw and heard in court today, Robin will be sending us another priceless, eyewitness report from the courtroom. We'll see other reports but none with Robin's particular insights.
And, by the way, neither Dave Basi, Bob Virk, nor Aneal Basi were listed on the Daily Court Lists for 14 November. Without this information, it's difficult for people to attend and observe the actual sessions.
Bill Tieleman was generous yesterday when BC Mary asked if he'd been in court. "Yes," said Bill, "I was there. Also The Globe and Mail, Vancouver Sun, CKNW, The Province, CITY TV were all there, as was Robin."
Bill wrote a fact-filled report ("Defence scores big win in B.C. Legislature Raids case disclosure application") at http://billtieleman.blogspot.com/
Victoria Times Colonist for 15 Nov. has " 'Project room' doors open". By Keith Fraser.
Vancouver Sun has an Ian Mulgrew column, which concludes with these disturbing remarks:
... Special prosecutor William Berardino insisted he and his staff were doing their best, but that complications arising from the intersection of several criminal investigations have proven considerable.
For instance, he said the corruption charges Basi and Virk face are a tangle of investigative threads involving a $1-billion BC Rail deal, the agricultural land reserve and money-laundering.
The federal money-laundering investigation, he said, was continuing until very recently and the Crown wasn't able to provide some of the documents defence lawyers wanted to see.
He said he thought those obstacles have now been overcome.
But his excuses were lame -- the police and prosecution have been lax here and the disclosure issues are far from resolved.
There also are other questions involving wiretaps that will be the subject of a voir dire next month, perhaps.
That could be delayed depending on whether the Crown makes good on his promise to provide the requested disclosure material by week's end.
I think it would be a disaster if at this point everything went south because of process problems and we were left in the dark about those startling events three years ago.
But surprising as it sounds, that could happen.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Mark Hume in The Globe and Mail wrote: "Judge orders RCMP to open its room of secret documents", well worth looking up.
Thanks for that Mary. As I have said all along it seems to me the defence wants this thing to go to trial. If you read Bill's column the judge thanked the defence for all their work in exposing the flaws in the disclosure of evidence. I also said previously defence lawyers who want a mistrial don't stand up and tell the judge about this, they wait until the last minute and throw a wrench into the process. We are getting closer and closer to learing the truth about how much influence the corporate elite have on our politicians and the decisions they make.
Thanks for re-posting ... thanks for the Ian Mulgrew tip, too.
Wouldn't you think these things would get big, easy-to-find headlines? I mean, reflecting the public importance of this trial?
didn't you mean.."on the other end of a two man saw working for other unnamed interests?"
or maybe I'm confused.
That's what I'm not sure about.
He seemed so confident that everything was tickety-boo up to this point; now he has problems? A little late in the day given Dec 4 is supposedly lift-off. How long before they’ll have court space and time to try this sucker if this date slides off the docket?
May 2009 perhaps?
Your explanation may well be as good as mine.
But, I don't think it's you who is confused mon ami.
Here is the link to the Mark Hume article in the G & M
I am very curious about this case, the decision by the judge and the stand taken by defence lawyers has intrigued me even more (everything I have read (thanks Bill Tieleman) leads me to the conclusion that the special prosecutor has a hidden agenda. I also just learned that the Special Prosecutor Bearidino was a law partner and is still close friends with the former AG and close friend of Campbell - GEOFF PLANT!!
Mary, were you aware of this very troubling link??
Three long years ago, Plant was the AG and is responsible for the appointment of Special Prosecutors.
The more details about this case the more questions continue. Maybe Berardino does have a hidden agenda!?
Thanks for a very good question. It's not surprising that friendships develop in the 40 years since William Berardino became a lawyer in Vancouver ... and yes, I had heard about a Geoff Plant connection.
But as I googled, trying to pinpoint exactly what that connection was, I found a site which talked about Berardino's areas of expertise. I was surprised. He's "Most frequently recommended" for matters to do with:
Litigation - corporate
Directors' & Officers' Liability
Which is puzzling. Is this Enron? And here's the law listing:
William Berardino called to the bar: 1966
Partner. Experience in a variety of matters, including claims involving breast implants, tobacco, asbestos, all terrain vehicles, equipment and construction failures, and commercial, general corporate, securities and bankruptcies and criminal cases. Appeared as counsel on leading cases applying BC’s class action legislation. Represents clients before the Supreme and Appellate Courts of BC, the FCC, and the many federal, provincial and local boards and tribunals. Member of the Law Reform Committee and the ACTL. Admitted to the British Columbia Bar in 1966; Yukon Bar in 1986; appointed Q.C. in 1985.
View William S. Berardino in the Canadian Legal Lexpert Directory.
What do you think of this information, Tina?
Can any one remember why they went with a special prosecutor in the first place. Wouldn't somebody from Geoff Gaul's office - corporate crime specialty - have been a better choice. With more experience in dealing with the cops etc.? Is he the right guy to push the public interest side of the investigation? In a case like this, it's the prosecution that bats for the people and Berardino looks like a corporate pinch hitter.
If you read the Globe, it makes it clear that it is the cops and not the crown that screwed the disclosure thing up.
Personally I think this whole disclosure thing is a complete smokescreen. If these guys are innocent why can't they simply get up in court and say so?
Top litigator for corporate clients in civil matters, no question. Prosecuting for the crown is a different ball of wax, surely. Still, I hope you're right. All in all, I'd be more sanguine with a professional crown in charge. Berardino is pretty thick with the establishment Bar, has been for years - how many trees do you think he's likely to shake?
I think their 'innocence', so called, will not be based on the fact they didn't do the deed. In my view this is going to be a case where the foot soldiers claim they were following orders. Else why not work a plea-bargain for a guilty plea and a slap on the wrist - the only way these guys can salvage their careers (and I believe these are very ambitious young men with futures) is to be exonerated. Their lives have been on hold for years.
Once found innocent they could then sue the crown for loss of income, defamation, etc., etc..
In a way, I'm more interested in how good defence counsel are.
"If these guys are innocent why can't they simply get up in court and say so?"
Well said, and to the point. Release everything and let everybody see it, then let the chips fall where they may. Even the Premier's phone conversations with the ferret are fair game to me. I don't care if they were talking about golf, fishing or "legitimate" government business. In fact I would be comforted to think they used a "personal" phone because they were going to be discussing "personal" matters, such as whether they had time for 18 holes or could only get in nine.
If they keep trying to keep everything secret, I can't help but imagine the worst!
You gotta love a Special Prosecutor who has expertise in the area of boob jobs!
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