Thursday, May 10, 2007

 

In the B.C. Legislature May 10: Disclosure of documents on sale of B.C. Rail

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May 10, 2007 - Hansard Blues

DISCLOSURE OF DOCUMENTS ON SALE OF B.C. RAIL

J. Kwan:"We need answers, and we need them right away." Those were the words of Judge Bennett who is presiding over the Basi-Virk hearings. Madam Justice Bennett is referring to all documents, including notes, regarding the involvement of the then Solicitor General in this investigation. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
Will the Attorney General fully cooperate and commit to releasing those documents to the courts today? [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

Hon. W. Oppal: I don't even know where to begin to answer that question.[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

Interjections. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

Mr. Speaker: Members. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

Hon. W. Oppal: I have news for the hon. Member. The Attorney General doesn't have the documents. You see, in this case…. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

Interjection. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

Mr. Speaker:What a clever question that was.[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

Interjections. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

Mr. Speaker:Continue, Attorney.[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

Hon. W. Oppal: What has happened here is that there is a special prosecutor appointed. If a special prosecutor is appointed, listen carefully, the Attorney General doesn't get involved. That's pretty fundamental.[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
The Attorney General doesn't get involved so as to remove any suggestion of any political interference. In this case there's a special prosecutor. His name is Bill Beradino QC. He's got conduct of the trial for the prosecution. If the judge has ordered Mr. Beradino to produce documents, I expect he will produce them. I don't have the documents.[DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

[1415]

Mr. Speaker:Member has a supplemental. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

J. Kwan: Thank you


I expect he will produce them. I don't have the documents. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

Mr. Speaker: The member has a supplemental. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

J. Kwan: In court today, the Crown advised the judge that they would request the government to provide all documents, including notes, regarding the involvement of the then Solicitor General in this investigation. The Premier personally pledged that the government would fully cooperate in this investigation. Will the Attorney General comply with the Crown's request and release all the documents regarding the then Attorney General's involvement in this investigation? [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

Hon. W. Oppal: I repeat: the Crown, who has conduct of the trial, is a special prosecutor. I assume that he'll cooperate. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
Last night I had dinner with a couple of friends of mine — a judge and a couple of defence lawyers. They said…. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

Interjections. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

Mr. Speaker: Members. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

Hon. W. Oppal: They said: doesn't anybody on that other side understand the system? They've got a couple of…. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

Interjections. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

Mr. Speaker: Members. Members. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]
Take your seat, Attorney. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

Hon. W. Oppal: We do not politically interfere with the conduct of the trial. [DRAFT TRANSCRIPT ONLY]

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Does anyone else remember when George Copley and Valerie Anderson, apparently representing the Province, appeared at one of the April pre-trial hearings for HMTQ vs Basi, Virk, Basi. I googled Mr Copley and learned that he was a senior lawyer (close to retirement) in the Attorney General's office. Their appearance concerned documents reviewed, or privileged and declared irrelevant and documents apparently involving client privilege. 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, Mr Oppal, does this mean that you cannot comment on George Copley or Ms Anderson either, as he ... or they ... are ... or were ... "before the court"? - BC Mary.

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Afterthought: some of us, myself included, believe that sensational issues become headline news at a time when it best diverts attention away from a more serious issue such as B.C. Rail. For example, after approx. 60 years of concern, the B.C. Attorney General says he will decide soon whether to lay charges in the alleged abuse suspected at Bountiful, B.C. - BC Mary.

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Comments:
Im fact Mary, you have an excellent memory. The day was March 7, 2007, and here's the passage from Robin's excellent court report of that day.

Perhaps we should send a copy to the Attorney General.

In a few moments of almost digression, George Copley and Valerie Anderson, apparently representing the Province, appeared. Their appearance concerned documents reviewed, or privileged and declared irrelevant and documents apparently involving client privilege (as I 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.
gw
 
gw, that was a terrific piece of sleuthing. Thanks so much.

I've added some bits, too, which I think makes this March item very useful again 2 months later.

Thanks again!
 
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