Tuesday, April 10, 2007
Breaking news - trial date is 18 April '07
Please stand by for confirmation of an early report that the Basi, Virk, Basi (B.C. Rail) trial will begin on April 18 with 6 months being set aside for the case - Madam Justice Elizabeth Bennett announced today.
No plea has been entered by the accused.
Trial will deal first with disclosure submissions.
I would wonder what they could possibly say in response to the fact that they are withholding important documents.
you may be right, but that was not the announcement that was on the CBC radio news at 11 am this morning.
I heard it myself
NEAL HALL, Vancouver Sun
Published: Tuesday, April 10, 2007
The trial of two former provincial government aides accused of corruption could take up to six months to finish, the trial judge heard today during a pre-trial conference.
During discussions between lawyers and B.C. Supreme Court Justice Elizabeth Bennett, one estimate of how long the trial of Bob Virk and David Basi might take was 120 days, which is the equivalent of six months of court time, based on the fact that a trial sits five days a week or 20 days a month.
There were also discussions about taking days off at various points in the trial to accommodate planned vacations of the defence lawyers and the prosecution team.
The trial was scheduled to begin next Monday but now will start two days later, on April 18, at the Vancouver Law Courts.
At one point during the hearing today, the judge mentioned she had been part of an advocacy class for young lawyers that included Erik Bornmann, who recently graduated from the University of B.C. law school and will be the Crown’s star witness at the Basi-Virk trial.
She asked counsel if she should recuse herself from the case but none of the lawyers asked for that. Special prosecutor Bill Berardino was also part of the advocacy class for law students, held at the Vancouver Law Courts in 2004, but Berardino previously stated that he has never met Bornmann.
Basi, 40, a former ministerial assistant to former finance minister Gary Collins, and Virk, 33, a former assistant to then transportation minister Judith Reid, are charged with accepting a benefit, fraud and breach of trust in relation to the government’s $1-billion sale of BC Rail operation to Canadian National Railway in November 2003.
The Crown has alleged that Bornmann, then a lobbyist representing OmniTRAX, one of the bidders for BC Rail, paid more than $20,000 to Basi in exchange for information. The police investigation led to a raid on the legislative offices of Basi and Virk on Dec. 28, 2003.
Basi’s cousin, Anneal Basi, is also accused of two counts of money laundering for allegedly accepting cheques from Bornmann and transferring funds to his cousin. dl
It will not involve sworn testimony for the first few weeks and, in all probability the Accused will not be in the court during much of that time but this is the actual trial.
The accused, by the way, have not yet entered a plea.
Sure hope ol' Bill's team was able to deliver on that.
Now what we really need to know is, did Madam Justice Bennett say: "Deliver ... or else"? And if so, or else what??
Because I betcha all the Tim Horton's coffee and doughnuts you can handle at one sitting that there are certain B.C. government documents which will never be given to the defence. In which case, we need to know who gets slapped with the "or else".
Over to you ... ?
I recall him saying that was one of the outcomes.. that prosecutors had till 12:00 that day to meet defendents request for documents. I don't know about the what else.. because I couldn't actually Hear any of this.
I've emailed Bill Tielman to ask what he recalls... and our mutual anon friend should also be able to shed light. My hearing is so bad that going to court is almost pointless for me...
ONE other thing.. there was discussion surrounding the press and access by the press to the trial... but no mention was made about publics' access to the trial - which was of concern to both myself and our anon mutual friend.
Anon mutual friend had to leave to take her/his daughter to an appointment.. but we were discussing what should happen, if the public be barred from the trial.
Nope, not pointless at all. Your eyes and your words have told us a huge amount of stuff already.