Wednesday, May 09, 2007

 

A note on Basi, Basi, Virk by Robin Mathews

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SUBJECT: A NOTE ON BASI, BASI, VIRK
By Robin Mathews

The Crown has taken over at the Basi, Basi, Virk hearing (on whether more disclosure is required). It is arguing - as I have said - that everything is fine, that Defence has had good treatment, that disclosure hasn't been obstructed, that RCMP and Crown have worked to make a good electronic system and that the system to access evidence required has been open to Defence. Crown argues investigating police were in no way turned away from elected (Gordon Campbell Liberal) politicians, but followed evidence and came upon the three accused and no one else.

The Crown mentioned that the drug matter was very much a part of the investigations and alleges that Dave Basi was, allegedly, deep into drug operations and profits. But Crown is unsure if it will proceed with any charges in that matter. Pardon? No reason given, just a statement. A statement that isn't satisfactory and opens very large questions. "Tips from an informant suggested Basi was laundering money for Bains by purchasing real estate," Winteringham said. "The Crown said it has not decided whether it will approve any of the alleged drug charges against Dave Basi". Pardon? Is that a way of saying, 'we will besmirch him with a "tip" we got, but we don't think it has enough basis to lay charges'?

"Police found several confidential documents pertaining to the [BC Rail] deal at the homes and offices of Virk and Basi and the Pilothouse office in Victoria", Winteringham said. If Basi was a highly trusted key aide, and Virk was trusted and in the Transportation Ministry, why wouldn't those documents be in their homes and offices? Are we dragging a red herring across the issue here? Documents were also found, Wintergham reports, in "the Pilothouse office in Victoria". That's important. But isn't it also important that RCMP are said to have found confidential government documents in the home of Christy Clark's brother when they searched his home? What were those documents? Why have we heard no more about them? Where did Clark get them, and why did he have them? No answers.

The oils of the Crown are being poured on troubled waters. But they open yet another uncomfortable question - uncomfortable because a person is very hesitant to open it.

On Monday and Tuesday Janet Winteringham used one of the fourteen affidavits acquired by the Crown in the last little while in order to contest the allegations made by Defence. (As I have said I want to see those affidavits that absolutely should be available to Canadians, but Madam Justice Elizabeth Bennett is keeping secret from Canadians as much as she can of the Basi, Basi, Virk materials. On whose behalf I ask again?)

The affidavit most referred to by Winteringham in order to establish facts of investigation is the affidavit made by (now Inspector) Sergeant Debruyckere who was chief investigating officer much of the time. But that officer is the brother-in-law of a man who was Executive Director of the B.C. Provincial Liberal Party and on an election team with Gary Collins - and, Defence alleges, frequently in telephone conversation with Dave Basi. Defence also suggests that information from Debruyckere probably passed to Reichert, Executive Director, and, allegedly, made its way to cabinet. Crown reported that Debruyckere informed his superiors in December of 2003 of his relation to Kelly Reichert.

(1) At that point Debruyckere should have been taken off the case, without question. (2) That he was not taken off the case casts deep suspicion on him AND on his superiors. (3 ) Any affidavit he presents has to be seen in the light of his connection to a top Liberal operative at the time of the investigation involving top Liberal operatives in cabinet and outside it.(4) The present state of RCMP reputation across the country (and especially in B.C.) makes doubt a reasonable condition in the mind of any reasonable Canadian on the question of the validity of Debruyckere's affidavit.

What is in that affidavit, and what is in the 13 others? Did RCMP officers fully and objectively report their activities in those affidavits? It is a terribly, terribly sad fact that (in the light of the enormous doubts cast upon RCMP integrity in recent years) we cannot be sure.

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ANONYMOUS ADDS A THOUGHT OR TWO ...

Mary,
I noticed one thing Robin missed - perhaps it happened when he wasn't in Court - it was in Neal Hall's story yesterday (which the Times Colonist picked up and ran on page A5 today) that suggests the defence argument relative to the 'disinformation' allegation about Warrants - at least in so far as the 'raid' warrant is concerned - won't fly.

I'd say this is good news; although I'd be interested to know if Crown also meant the remarks about Dohm knowing what location(s) were covered by the wiretap warrants also checkmates their attempt to have the wiretap evidence thrown out. Ref: Winteringham's statement in court and references to the "Information to Obtain a Search Warrant" document.

If I'm not mistaken, that tends to leave the Charter argument and perhaps the Parliamentary privilege one (about which I've always been dubious) as the only possible factors (which haven't been addressed by the prosecution) that might have induced the Judge to throw the whole thing out.

I hope Robin will come to the same conclusion - although I'm sure it won't affect (as it hasn't mine) his opinion of Dohm.

In the end though - although I'd much rather R could get his hands on more documents right now and I still think he's been shunted aside by the system - if all this comes out once the discovery phase is over.

In the main though, if I'm right that the grounds for outright dismissal are diminishing, that can't be anything but good.

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Comments:
Mary, I know it's not directly related to the BVB trials, but did you happen to see Gary Mason's wonderful piece on the Olympics today? It's instructive to anyone witnessing his coverage of anything political; he practically fell over himself praising the government and the organizers for such a wonderful job.

Honestly, I think he's a lazy, stupid man. People put the most incredible information in front of him and he believes it because he can't be bothered to think critically or dig around for more information.

This is the guy Canada's National Newspaper has covering the biggest government corruption trial in BC's history.
 
Anon 747:

I did see it and immediately wished I hadn't.
 
Well you have to admit that the crown is playing the same game now as the defence. Toss in a few allegations, jumble some adjectives, submit the "evidence" to the court and then let the media have a field day printing whatever combination of material they feel like.

One has to admit however that the image of Basi using Government offices to conduct drug negotiations, launder money, and commit other nefarious acts certainly beats out Collins having dinner with some executive and having Basi make a few prank calls.

I wonder if we will ever get to the point in this "trial" where actual hard and fast evidence backed by solid research and investigation is ever discussed!
 
The bottom of the birdcage took my copy off my hands instantaneously.

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The Maceman's latest scribblings I mean.

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Remember Robin Mathews' comment in his recent contribution, that he became an expert in detecting when a judge is stalling?

Well ... in this case, it's either the judge or the prosecution ... but obviously somebody is dragging their feet.

Good point, too, to compare the performance of Eddie Greenspan (admittedly, for the defence) in the Conrad Black trial with the Crown Prosecution team in the Basi, Virk, Basi case. Quite a contrast.

All the fumbling, confusion, re-requesting, and even the sudden and unexplained disappearance of the Special Prosecutor, kinda brings down the tone of the B.C. Supreme Court, dontcha think?

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Anonymous:

Sorry to delete your comment but I can't allow a citizen's honesty to be questioned about a crime he/she probably hasn't even heard about.

Please re-write your comment without that allegation.

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i would like to thank all of you for keeping as many people as possible informed about this scandalous body we call a govt please keep the lights on and dont let them wriggle free
 
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