Tuesday, June 05, 2007


Judge orders disclosure of 'every piece of paper'

Missing Reichert report would involve Premier Gordon Campbell


By Suzanne Fournier
The Province - Published: Monday, June 04, 2007

A defence lawyer smoked a fat cigar on the courthouse steps Monday to celebrate a ruling forcing disclosure of "every piece of paper" in an investigation into two former government aides accused of corruption. {Snip} ...

Outside court, defence lawyer Michael Bolton, who is acting for Collins' former ministerial aide David Basi, said the judge had done "a very thorough job and a very good job. We're very, very pleased with this ruling."

Defence lawyer Kevin McCullough, representing Bobby Virk, former assistant to then transportation minister Judith Reid, celebrated on the courthouse steps by lighting up a thick cigar. {Snip} ...

The judge noted that in late 2003, "not only was Dave Basi under police suspicion, so was his superior, the Minister of Finance Gary Collins."

At a dinner on Dec. 12, 2003, Collins met with OmniTRAX officials in a Vancouver restaurant that was crawling with undercover police.

"It is clear that Minister Collins was under police suspicion... yet there is nothing that I have seen in writing that indicates who made the decision to stop pursuing Minister Collins as a suspect and when that decision was made."

The judge questioned lack of disclosure on the fact that RCMP Insp. Kevin deBruyckere, head of the B.C. Rail investigation, and Kelly Reichert, head of the Liberal Party, are married to sisters. The defence has alleged Reichert warned police not to charge politicians.

"There are police notes indicating that Mr. Reichert was going to brief Premier (Gordon) Campbell on certain events," said Bennett. "I must infer that some notes exist. Apparently some officers kept more than one notebook."


Question: The accused in this case originally were three men. Now there are two. What happened to Aneal Basi? And for that matter, what happened to the Special Prosecutor? - BC Mary

Well, yeah Gary, each of the three accused has his own lawyer ... and each of the three accused is included in the BC Supreme Court Lists for each day of pre-trial hearings.

So my question stands: why have the journalists begun referring to Case No. 23299-1/2/3 as if there are only two accused? All three are linked, as in "follow the money".

Whether or not Berardino is involved in a previous engagement is also something which should be explained in Courtroom 54 -- as the most common courtesy to the waiting, watching, worried public.

Something Robin said, keeps me worried. He points out that Judge Bennett read (for over an hour) her rulings into the record for the purpose, he believes, of being able to say it's available to the public without actually providing the copies of the document.

So I'm going to sit on this fence a while longer, until we hear from the Prosecution team on Thursday. If they say they can't (won't) cough up what's needed for full disclosure -- and then Judge Bennett feels justified in declaring a mistrial -- well, I think British Columbia will know just how deep we're mired in political/criminal doo-doo.

Does anybody think that we can look away yet ... and that Madam Justice Bennett can make the whole problem disappear?

I hope "Grumpy" will agree that his comment (following Bill Tieleman's story on The Tyee today) deserves to be seen here:

A case too far
On The Tyee.ca

If the case is thrown out, as I think the special prosecutor and the RCMP want to do, it will be a Pyrrhic victory for the Liberals.

Many of the population will be be of the opinion that the Liberals are guilty and that wealthy elites organized the dismissal. This will lead a contempt for the law and will show that if you have money and power in BC, you can buy the courts.

Campbell has great disdain for the rule of law, except when it concerns his own friends. For me, if this case is thrown out, it means the rule of law no longer exists and one can try to get away with anything if one isn't caught.

BC is already seen as haven for every con man and crook around and with the Premier and his party seen by many to 'get off', will mean open season for crime.

This case must be seen through and if the RCMP or the Special prosecutor are in contempt, so be it, throw them in jail!

And so we wait again!

I heard nothing, nada, not a word about Justice Bennett's remarks on CBC radio last night or this morning.

Did I miss it? On the other hand, did they just not bother?

The next phase I suppose will be an application of spin from the 185 who will, I find it hard to think they'd be doing otherwise, feel it's necessary now to massage the message a little since the Court itself has now implicated both the Premier and former Minister Collins.

This is not to say that these are still anything but allegations, however, in light of several comments by Berardino's assistants, Bennett's remarks will not have left them feeling very comfortable. Lawyers are not very fond of being chastised from the bench the way Justice Bennett did it yesterday.

I sincerely hope we'll soon have a copy of her remarks. How else are the public to form their own views of what has been going on in the administration of this province since 2001?

All the talk about Collins 'not being a target' and the Premier being disengaged and out of the loop.

Surely someone with a little courage must now begin to connect the dots in this case.

Jack Webster certainly would have.
". . . . that wealthy elites organized the dismissal. This will lead a contempt for the law and will show that if you have money and power in BC, you can buy the courts."

I agree with Grumpy. This would not be the first time the courts proved their political linkages to protect at all costs the high profile circle, Grumpy. Where political reputations are threatened due to their own conduct, the 'circle' goes into gear & the Rule of Law is 'deep sixed' to protect these rogues; justice be damned!

Desperate people do desperate things.

One such case comes to mind: The Powder Mountain/Callaghan Valley Supreme Court trial against the Premier & BC Government for derailing an international ski resort won by the proponent via the government legal proposal call process, with no taxpayer dollars involved in the project.

Many of us sat in shock hearing the truth revealed re: govt. corruption a few years ago. The month long trial was well attended.

The gallery was not disappointed: the blatant misconduct/malice at the highest levels was uncovered in confidential files from the Premier's Office & the Cabinet Briefing notes, emails etc. - the trail of deceit/corruption working in concert behind closed doors, was clear. Nothing was left to the imagination . . . . & we all became wiser about what really goes on in systems that we are supposed to trust. Systems that are supposed to protect the public NOT the politicians & bureaucrats own agendas.

All who heard the facts/testimony knew it was a 'slam dunk' win for the Plaintiffs derailed by a Premier & a handful of Land bureaucrats. Did the Judges have wax in their ears or were they in another court room?

The Judges dismissed the case. Yet, there was no win. The facts were simply sanitized. JUSTICE WAS STONEWALLED.

What game did they play? With scalpal precision the trial Judge chose to cut off the evidence/facts after an early date on the time line. Dispense with the truth which taints the politicians/senior bureaucrats.

In concert, the Appeal Judges also dismissed & refused to analyze the five errors in the Rule of Law sanitizing the evidence once again, one of the Judges being named the new Chief Justice during the months of writing the Judgment to Dismiss. Does this smell of stinky-poo tactics?

One of the key media journalists present summed it up:

"It's like the guy on the mat in a boxing match - wins".

What does this mean for the public at large? It means no one wins. The Plaintiff's cry for justice on behalf of the all British Columbians was not only ignored but the Judges gave a nod to abuse of process/abuse of office at within government. The government officials must live their lives looking over their shoulders . . . for the truth to surface.

Everytime this happens in our court system the cancer of corruption grows. It is all of our duty to speak up & say this is not acceptable.

Ultimately the truth wins. Cover-ups always get uncovered if decent people persist to demand justice.

I believe Justice Bennett is not part of this incestuous circle. I believe that her actions to date speak volumes that she, too, believes in exposing the truth. My gut tells me that she will ensure that sufficient facts will be put on the table for the public to judge.
thanks, earseyeswideopen,

There is a very revealing and astute insight into Judge Bennett in Judy Tyabji's book about the Glen Clark trial called "Daggers Unsheathed" that I think (and I very much hope) adds further weight to your belief in the integrity of Judge Bennett.

I tried to write a short synopsis of it here but it is a piece that can't be shortened much without distorting the meaning. It involves allegations made by the defence against Staff Sergeant Peter Montague....allegations about his alleged part in the political motives behind the Clark investigation.

It is in the chapter called "The Verdict", p.283-284 of the hard cover edition. While it was reported by most of the media that Judge Bennett was criticizing the defence team's allegations, saying she could find no evidence against Montague, Tyabji keenly observes that she was in fact criticizing "the tactics" of the defence...re: their choice not to cross-examine Montague on the stand. So even though Bennett ruled that she could find no evidence to substantiate their claims against Montague, she makes very clear in this sentence why she had no choice but to do so:

"Whether there was in fact substance to the allegations cannot be determined because of the defence's decision not to cross-examine Staff Sergeant Montague."

So she certainly appears as a judge trying to get at the truth, questioning the defence's choice not to cross-examine Montague, saying the evidence "could be there" but you have now made it impossible to determine that. She seems to be pointing out that the chance for substantiation of allegations was unfortunately lost...and she is criticizing them for losing that chance of getting at the truth through their ill-considered tactics.

.... could be reading her entirely wrong, I hope not.
earseyeswideopen ... lynx ... interesting comments you've contributed. Many thanks.

It bothered me that I couldn't seem to remember the names or the issues involved in such a dramatic trial. Not even the premier's name. Well, Google came through ...

Vander Zalm survives Powder Mountain lawsuit

A B.C. Supreme Court judge has thrown out a lawsuit filed against the province by the backers of the Powder Mountain ski resort. Nan and Diane Hartwick alleged political interference in their multi-million dollar lawsuit.

The Hartwicks were seeking compensation for lost opportunities and time and money invested in the project. The trial featured several well known political witnesses, including former premier Bill Vander Zalm and former Socred cabinet ministers Grace McCarthy and Jack Kempf.

For 20 years the Hartwicks fought to develop the Callaghan Valley, home to the planned Powder mountain ski resort. They always claimed they won the rights to develop the area in 1985. But two years later they claimed their verbal agreement with the provincial government fell through.

During the trial Kemp testified he received a memo ordering him to stop assisting the Hartwicks because then-premier Bill Vander Zalm had a friend who wanted to develop the area as a ski resort.

Today, Justice David Tysoe ruled there was no such memo and ruled there is no evidence Vander Zalm or other government representatives acted improperly. He dismissed the Hartwicks' claim for breach of contract, abuse of public office and unlawful interference.

CBC News
25 August 1999

You are a good detective, BC Mary - can't say the same for the CBC story . . . You might be interested in the more of the truth according to the evidence in court we all heard vs the incorrect CBC statements, . To clarify & correct the CBC story, here is the truth based on factual court docments:

1. The company, Powder Mountain Resorts Ltd. was suing the govt. & Premier VanderZalm to have their legal rights reinstated to be placed back in their legal status, prior to being derailed by the Premier, as ,the sole, winning proponent of the govt.'s final proposal call process in 1985; a process they had won 3 times over during the period of 20 yrs. continually derailed by the land bureaucrats.

2. As the legal sole proponent, after many years of bureaucratic shaninigans, the company was then in a legal position to negotiate legal documents with the Attorny General's lawyer & lawyers for the company (not simply a "verbal agreement" as written in the CBC version) that were ready for signiture when the Premier directly inserted his friends into the sole proponent (PMR Ltd.) position. This point is key; there was a contract between the govt. & PMR Ltd. at substantial costs to the proponent who trusted the santity of the govt.'s proposal call process, not unlike the BC Rail process.

3. The Premier & his friend, a former Attorney General who had chaired the Leadership contest in 1986, had links to many of the Supreme Court Judges. The Prem & his pal's illegal interference was proven beyond doubt in letters & memoes in the Premier's file obtained by the company's lawyers: proved that these two individuals started to derail the Hartwick's legal positon the first week VanderZalm became Premier.

3. The Judge conviently cut off the timeline of documents for analysis in his Judgment which including all of the land bureaucrats deceit who were aiding the Premier with his agenda & theirs. The Judge also cut off the key document showing the Hartwick's legal contract with their company names crossed off by the AG lawyer with a pen, for use by & VanderZalm's pals company; Powder Mountain Resorts name replaced with the Attorney General's name. By the way, the Attorney General, Les Peterson was the constituency running mate of Minister McCarthy who aided VanderZalm in derailing the legal proponent, acoording to govt. documents.

4. Re: the CBC quote: "During the trial Kemp testified he received a memo ordering him to stop assisting the Hartwicks because then-premier Bill Vander Zalm had a friend who wanted to develop the area as a ski resort." Yes - the Minister did say that & more: The Minister of Lands had been locked out of his office by the Premier when he was telling the Premier he could interfere in this legal procss & found the entire Powder Mtn. file containing this memo removed from his desk.

5. In court there were many letters proving the direct interference from the Premier's files, not just this memo; letters ordering Kempf to phone VanderZalm's friends instead of allowing the Hartwicks to keep their legal status - the Prem even provided home phone numbers - it was truly shocking!!!!

So what happened to all of this evidence the Judge heard.

BTW, VanderZalm nor the Attorney General never took the witness stand.

There's no easy way for citizens to de-construct the reports published by print or broadcast media, is there?

Of course I wondered, as I posted that 8-year-old CBC report, how it compared with what you had written. No way of telling.

Only this morning, a journalist asked me if I think that a whole separate blog should be dedicated to the media. Yes, I do. I even try to do that whenever I can. A free, fair press is the basis of a free, fair democracy.

The basic questions remain: who decides what gets published? Who decides the Point-of-View? Who is responsible for the damage when facts are knowingly replaced by fictions?

Mary ~ Please don't misunderstand my response to your posting the CBC report. You get 5 stars!

My post above was not meant to focus on the mainstream media - as you point out above, that is another chapter in itself & you make excellent points.

I apologize in advance for the length of this post. My intent is to emphasize how the court system can sanitize TRUTH - the facts & manipulate the outcome of a trial according to their mind set (read: political bias); depending on which Judge(s) is/are holding the reigns & whether or not their ethics are in tact - who is connectd to whom . . . politically.

It IS uplifting to see ,Judge Bennett act with honour/a strong ethical backbone in the BC Rail trial. One can only imagine the pressures she is feeling from certain political corners. It is crucial to have a Judge who clearly is doing what she is trained to do: administering justice instead of politics.

Having witnessed the Powder Mountain/Callaghan Valley trial in person, where stunning testimony & documents were unearthed - riddled with wrongdoing by high profile politicians/bureaucrats,starting from the Premier, we were all - the media incuded - stymied to see the whitewash perfomed in the Supreme Court. It was geared to protect the government officials who had blatantly abused their offices of public trust through the omission of key, conclusive evidence.

I remember speaking with an RCMP officer who attended to trial out of interest; he said he saw "crime all over the case".

Think about it: Yes, stacking phone calls/media manipulation in the BC Raid case is unacceptable - dirty political tricks paid for by the taxpayers.

Now, please consider: hard evidence obtained in the Powder Mountain case where a Premier is proactively placing his friends in the legal position won by another company accordng to a govt. proposal call process, all detailed in personal lettrs from the Premier's confidential files all apparently invisible to the trial Judge.

The trial Judge chose to cut off all evidence related to documents proving deceit by a senior Land bureaucrat who lied to the Ombudsman, when he knew everything about VanderZalm's interference for his friends. Key confidential documents dramatically surfaced through court order during the trial proving this, as did his own testimony.

We learned in court that the Ombudsman is unable to access the Premier's or Cabinet files & was completly reliant on this senior bureaucrat. Thus, the Ombudsman report was void of any of the truth - a report that was ultimately used to say there was no wrongdoing! A catch-22. A House of Cards with political deceit as the foundation.

That that same Land bureaucrat was in fact instructing the Attorney General lawyers throughout the entire litigation.

That same Land bureaucrat testified in court & admittd what had happened was wrong, as did every other witness for the Defense under cross examination by Powder Mountain's lawyer.

Where was the Judge?

Politics in the courts? You bet.

How much worse could dirty politics get? What chance does any citizen of British Columbia have when they are forced to endure investing in this public process in good faith, while corruption reigns in govt. & the courts like Powder Mountain Resorts experienced?

Here is the wake up call: It could happen to anyone.

You have to hear it & see it to believe it. Corruption can never win over vigilance & determination to ensure the truth holds firm. There is no time factor where the truth is concerned.

I hope that what I have taken the time to share above, will give a dose of reality to your readers as to what happens behind closed doors of undiluted power in govt. & the courts.

No one should take for granted that are systems are clean - they are not. No one deserves the treatment received by Powder Mountain Resorts Ltd.No one should find it acceptable.

June 6, 2007 3:19 PM

That's a stunning story.

What I cannot understand is this: wouldn't this case be widely known if the press has been fulfilling its responsibilities?

Do you agree with me that an honest media with a clear sense of its duty to the public is essential to a healthy society?

I'm having to think more and more about this, as time goes on. It isn't enough that we pay our $1. at the newsstand and get a kg of printed newsprint, most of which we dump into the re-cycle box immediately. No, it's just not good enough. And it doesn't have to be this way.

We ought to be able to trust our print and broadcast media to take their work seriously -- to provide us with the information we need to be fully aware of our own duties in a healthy society. No different from when we go to school, or visit our doctor, or buy potatoes -- we ought to be guaranteed a fair, clean, honest, healthy result.

If only that was true in British Columbia, I wouldn't have needed to go Googling to find out who that premier was in the case you described yesterday. And we would be better able to understand some of the things which are happening in the Basi Virk Basi - B.C. Rail affair.

That way, we could protect ourselves, our systems, and this province.

earseyeswideopen, Thank you for caring so passionately about these things. You chose an excellent User ID. Please stay in touch.

Thanks, BC Mary. I really like you - I really like everything you stand for. Your ethics are inspiring.

At the time of the trial, I read many good Neal Hall articles - where are they on-line now with Canwest control???

CBC TV did extensive national coverage with Terry Milewski who gave excellent coverage of the Hartwicks, their private sector project rights planned for the entire Callaghan Valley filming the massive glacier providing the year round skiing on a ring wall of 5 mountains etc. Looks like the 'big boys' wanted to steal it after they had won the rights - same old, same old . . . .

I understand there IS much more to this story including details surrounding Vanoc, the land bureaucrats & the BC Libs - same old circle from what I understand.

I further understand that this "stunning" case is active on all fronts as we speak, including with the RCMP etc. & possible further lawsuits.

Further, that significant developments have been given to Sun which have been blocked. Terry Milewski from what I hear, is afraid to touch it. So there you have it.

I totally agree with what you have written above, BC Mary, about the media - far too much screening/diluting of the truth at hand that we deserve to know about our public systems, otherwise the cancer of corruption continues.

YOU ARE RIGHT: "No, it's just not good enough. And it doesn't have to be this way."
In fact, just as you are calling for a full, OPEN, public inquiry on BC Rail so the net catches all of the eels . . . . it occurred to me that there must be a full airing in a public inquiry into the Powder Mountain/Callaghan Valley case.

What are your thoughts on this?


It's hard for me to come up with an informed opinion, knowing so little about the trial, i.e., nothing ... you'd do that much better.

I had the vague feeling that something was left hanging -- unfinished -- about that case. Is that so?

On the other hand, surely somebody must have asked for a Public Inquiry? Is there a time limit on these things?

I just don't know.

Looks like you're the Designated Driver on this train of thought.

Good morning, Mary ~ In answer to your quote: "I had the vague feeling that something was left hanging -- unfinished -- about that case. Is that so?"

The answer: Yes.

Everything was left hanging - based on what we all heard in court as outlined abov;ultimately a a complete cover-up

I have no knowledge of an Inquiry at this point. I understand that there has been "significant developments" on this case & is active based on the information that has been shared with me; that more evidence surrounding Vanoc & the Callaghan Valley, the Land bureaucrats linked & the BC Libs. has surfaced - all connected to the original derailment of the Hartwick's rights the the Callaghan Valley - thus, the current activity.

On these cases, as you have pointed out re: BC Rail, an Inquiry outside of other avenues, casts a wider net exposing more of the truth.

I anyone with wisdom about the mechanics of calling for an Inquiry it would be interesting re: both these political corruption cases - right? I will certainly relay it to my sources.

Today is going to be most intriguing in Courtroom 54 - look forward to your next chapter, Mary.

thank you for understanding my thought and picking up the discussion with more information.

I guess what's rattling around in my mind (unaccustomed as it is to figuring out ONE trial, let alone TWO simultaneously) is ... would a Public Inquiry stall whatever other legal remedies are in the works for the Callaghan Valley case?

In the B.C. Rail trial, it has always seemed clear to me that the two things (trial and inquiry) could not run concurrently without one drawing resources, facts, strength away from the other and become, as a result, less effective. Therefore, as I see it, the trial should fully run its course before the public inquiry begins. But ... that the public inquiry should begin immediately after the trial ends, no matter how it ends.

If there's information you'd rather send privately, you'll find my e.mail address on the upper border of The Legislature Raids home page.

Yes ... if only cameras could be in Courtroom 54 today. With a "repeat" button. There will be so many details we'll miss, by not being there.

I'm hoping that there are angels who fly around such places, whispering into everyone's ears, on behalf of the public interest.

Just got in, Mary . . . thanks for your response - you will be hearing from me soon via your email address.

Although there is a delay in the Raid trial - sometimes that is not always a bad thing, particularly if it means accessing the truth.

Your thoughts re: 'Inquiries' & timing are interesting, indeed & make a lot of sense. I certainly am no expert on this issue - but one well worth pursuing whereever justice has been denied.

I think the angels are active in many nooks & cranies these days, don't you? There is a change in the wind . . . .

I always like that saying:

"There is nothing covered up that remains covered"

. . . . that is, with a lot of elbow grease, a good dose of determination (because the crooks always think the good guys go away . . . & some 'other worldy' intervention LOL.

Talk soon.

Your Home page must be different to mine & all other people who read your blog. I cannot see your email address . . . If you can see my email address from posting, please don't hesitate to send me an email . . .

Is this possible?
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