Friday, May 18, 2007


Defence wants to cross-examine Special Prosecutor



Canadian Press - May 17, 2007

A lawyer defending a former B.C. government aide on fraud and bribery charges says he should be allowed to cross-examine the special prosecutor ... {Snip}

The complex criminal case, which is still mired in pretrial arguments, has rocked the provincial Liberal government.

The BC Rail investigation was one of several probes that culminated in a police raid of Dave Basi's and Mr. Virk's offices at the provincial legislature in December, 2003. Mr. Basi and Mr. Virk were aides to government ministers handling the BC Rail sale.

Mr. Bornmann has admitted he bribed Dave Basi and Mr. Virk while he was working for a firm called Pilothouse Public Affairs Group, whose clients included OmniTRAX, a U.S. company that was one of the three bidders for B.C. Rail.

Mr. Bolton said there's nothing in writing about any deal with Mr. Bornmann or why Mr. Berardino abruptly cancelled it.

The Crown has said Mr. Berardino will make a statement in court about the agreement with Mr. Bornmann, but Mr. Bolton said that's not good enough.

"It's not useful for the special prosecutor to make a statement or answer specific questions for the court if he's not available for cross-examination because cross-examination is [the] engine by which we search for the facts."

Special prosecutors are appointed by the government after a request by police when there's a perception of bias in political investigations.

Kevin McCullough, who represents Mr. Virk, said it doesn't make sense that Mr. Berardino struck a deal with Mr. Bornmann without knowing what he'd say because that would taint the man's testimony.

"It's a deal on the down low, it's all on the QT, it's all on the unspoken," he said. "When there isn't a written immunity agreement these are the concerns that come up. It's complete ineptitude."

Mr. McCullough said defence lawyers only learned that Mr. Berardino cancelled the deal because of a letter disclosed to them by Mr. Bornmann's lawyer instead of any information that came from the Crown.

He called that the "theatre of the bizarre," adding, "That makes no sense to any of us."

Court has heard that Mr. Berardino phoned Mr. Bornmann's lawyer to say he was going to cancel the immunity deal because Mr. Bornmann falsely told some media outlets he'd been exonerated of any wrongdoing.

But Mr. McCullough said there's no evidence in any notes or documents that provide defence lawyers with an explanation of what the deal was or why Mr. Bornmann would exonerate himself after admitting his guilt for bribing government officials. {Snip} ...

Despite the fact he admitted bribery, Mr. Bornmann was able to continue his lobbying career, pursue a law career in Ontario and ... [there may be an error in the original column. Please see full report.]


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