Saturday, March 31, 2007
"The Crown" blocked? In denial? What?
Isn't it marvelous, the way something can be right in front of our eyes ... and we don't see it? Over and over, we've been told that "The Crown" has fallen behind in providing documents necessary to a fair trial for Basi, Virk and Basi.
"The Crown" failed to provide all those documents. "The Crown" needs to respond to the defence Application for Disclosure. The Crown?
That's what I thought ... that The Crown was failing in its very important duties. The Crown, I thought, seemed to be doing an inexplicably sloppy job of not providing documents which the defence requested. The Crown.
How did I get the idea that "The Crown" had full access to whatever documents are required to conduct a fair trial of Basi, Virk, Basi?
Well, in this case, "It's the government, stupid." It's the government which holds all those documents (in trust, on behalf of the public, I thought). And so it's the government which poor ol' Bill Berardi, Crown Prosecutor, must turn to, as he tries to fulfill his own immense duties as "The Crown" (that's us) vs. Basi, Virk, Basi.
Poor ol' Berardi. Imagine his predicament, caught between a clamouring public and the Campbell Government.
Just imagine: Bill B. picks up the phone: "Ah, er Gordon ... I'm trying to find the written reasons for the instant dismissal of Dave Basi ..." And Gordon cuts in with "Bill? Bill who? Oh, that must be Bill 6, well, we've dealt with that. See my E.A. for copies." Slam.
Poor ol' Bill. Remember Bhupinder's little eyewitness report from Justice Bennett's courtroom, in which Ol' Bill was seen slumped hopelessly in his chair while the defence lawyers battled for permission to enter the Project Room? Poor, uncomfortable Ol' Bill. [See more about Berardino on "I want to investigate things for myself" by Bhupinder Mattu, published in this blog on 1/27/07.]
And yet, dammit, what about us? When they say "The Crown" doesn't that mean you? me? All of us? So what about the public's right to know? What about history's need to know? What about a fair trial? What about giving Bill Berardino the documents he needs to prosecute this hugely important B.C. Rail trial?
Sheesh ... only 70 questions?? But the B.C. Opposition finally stood up and delivered those questions. Next date to watch for: April 16.
- BC Mary.
Every judge, every lawyer, every law clerk, everybody working within the judicial system undoubtedly knows that the Crown Prosecutor in the Basi, Virk, Basi trial can only ask the Ministry of Finance or the Ministry of Transportation or the Office of the Premier for specific documents. Think of the possibilities for error between requesting and receiving.
So doesn't this alter the picture of the Basi, Virk, Basi trial just a little bit?
Doesn't the adversarial nature of our justice system seem to have swung around now to where it's US (symbolized by the Crown Prosecutor) aiming at THEM (the government in power when the alleged crimes happened)?
If the Gordon Campbell government holds evidence needed for the fair trial of two former government employees, doesn't this mean the government is being asked for evidence that might incriminate itself? Is that OK?
Or does it mean that the government -- like any other entity -- has a right to withhold evidence which incriminates itself?
Just how does this work?
Man, this is too weird.
I googled him afterward and found that George Copley is a very senior counsel in the Attorney General's office, close to retirement. Another little puzzle, eh?
Their appearance concerned documents reviewed, or privileged and declared irrelevant and documents apparently involving client privilege (as Robin understood their interventions).
McCullough, for the Defence, intervened and said all the documents were the responsibility of the Special Prosecutor, that he was claiming "standing" in the court for Copley who, in effect, has no standing, and the documents should simply be disclosed.
The Court appeared to agree with the burden of the statement by Defence.
So I mean, if you were Ol' Bill Berardino, with about 200,000 documents wafting around your head while you tried to snatch the ones which best serve the interests of justice ... would you feel 100% certain of which way to jump next?
In the interests of justice (thats what this is all about supposedly) please release all the documents. What does Bill and his friend campbell have to hide (remember Bill and Geoff Plant were very good friends, Plant was Campbell's roommate in Victoria). People who have nothing to hide should have no problem releasing all the documents.