Wednesday, April 18, 2007
Allegations of what Premier Campbell knew. Defence rejects claim that "no elected officials were under investigation".
Bill Tieleman starts off with 3 bombshells!
24 Hours - Wednesday, April 18, 2007
Basi-Virk defence allegation bombshells dropped - was Premier Campbell informed of Basi investigation through BC Liberal Party?
Lawyers for defendants David Basi, Bob Virk and Aneal Basi dropped several bombshell allegations in BC Supreme Court this morning.
Virk's lawyer Kevin McCullough alleged in court that Premier Gordon Campbell was informed by BC Liberal Party Executive Director Kelly Reichert in June of 2005 that RCMP were forwarding a report to Crown counsel on David Basi's alleged "media monitoring" contracts with the BC Liberal Party.
McCullough alleged that the report came because: "One of the investigations of Mr. Basi was whether there was any wrongdoing regarding the media monitoring contracts with the Liberal Party."
McCullough pointed out that RCMP Inspector Kevin DeBruyckere "was and still remains the brother-in-law of Kelly Reichert" although he did not at any point allege any impropriety on the part of either DeBruyckere or Reichert.
The "media monitoring" contracts, McCullough said, were given to Basi at the same time he was ministerial assistant to then-Finance Minister Gary Collins.
McCullough called the "media monitoring" contracts "a highly political effort to sway public opinion through the use of radio shows and other events." McCullough did not further explain exactly what the contracts allegedly involved.
Premier Gordon Campbell was not in the Legislature today nor did he attend a BC Liberal Party caucus meeting, according to my colleague Sean Holman of 24 hours and Public Eye Online, so was not available to reporters to comment.
McCullough said Debruckyere disclosed his relationship with Reichert to his superiors in March 2004.
It should be noted that these are simply allegations and that they remain unproven in court.
In another major allegation, McCullough claimed that the RCMP had "acted in bad faith" by telling the media that no elected officials were under investigation when they "knew full well they were investigating Mr. Collins in November."
McCullough alleged that the RCMP misled the public by denying any politicians were being investigated, including through poice news releases.
It was also allegated by the defence that the RCMP were "clearly duplicitous" in obtaining wiretap authorizations by failing to disclose the concerns of a Supreme Court justice about Parliamentary privilege being infringed with wiretaps.
And McCullough said that the RCMP obtained a wiretap on "the Finance Minister's phone" in the Legislature in October 2003.
In an interesting development, lawyer Clark Roberts, a former BC Liberal Party staffer and former federal Liberal Party candidate with close personal ties to Gary Collins was present in the courtroom.
Mr. Roberts told me that he was in the courtroom on behalf of a client whom he could not disclose and that he was "here on a watching brief" for that client.
Posted by Bill Tieleman on 24 HOURS
Keep up with Bill at http://billtieleman.blogspot.com/ He will also be on
CKNW AM 980's Nightline BC tonight from 8 to 9 p.m. with host Michael Smyth to talk about the day's developments - also broadcast on the Corus Radio Network - tune in if you can.
Bill: Big thanks for letting us borrow this. - BC Mary.
(and I'll be doing my best to try and match the bits and bites of the Anon-O-Mices to their voices during the call in segment.
"In another major allegation, McCullough claimed that the RCMP had "acted in bad faith" by telling the media that no elected officials were under investigation when they "knew full well they were investigating Mr. Collins in November."
That was November 2003?
Here's his lede:
"Former finance minister Gary Collins was under investigation by police before a raid of the legislature in December 2003, a defence lawyer suggested today at the opening day of the criminal trial involving two former government aides."
Even if the allegations were true, what impact do they have on the guilt or innocence of Basi and Virk?
If Collins and/or Campbell have done something wrong then lets have it investigated and charges brought against them. In the eman time lets get this long overdue trial started!
I've filed two stories for Thursday's 24 hours newspaper - http://vancouver.24hrs.ca/ - and about 1300 words for www.thetyee.ca on this fascinating first day of the defence disclosure application.
Sorry we didn't take calls on CKNW AM 980 tonight from 8:15 p.m. to 9 p.m. but got a lot of information out on the trial and background.
The case could be very interesting again Thursday with possible follow up on the "media monitoring" contract allegedly given by the BC Liberal Party to David Basi.
Unfortunately for me I will be unable to cover court Thursday or Friday due to previous work commitments but will be watching and back at it next week.