Wednesday, June 06, 2007

 

Latest twist ... bad news for Liberals

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LATEST TWIST IN BASI-VIRK CASE BAD NEWS FOR LIBERALS

Les Leyne
Victoria Times Colonist - Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Justice Elizabeth Bennett's "every piece of paper" ruling this week is the kind of thing of which B.C. Liberal nightmares are made. {Snip} ...

It's not just every scrap of paper that any investigator ever touched.

The ruling also opens a big file cabinet full of information about the drug case that was a precursor to the corruption case. Remember how the overall investigation was code-named Project Everywhichway? That's where the information will be flowing from here on in.

Regardless of its relevance to the narrow B.C. Rail influence-peddling case, everything is going to come out now.

Some details might have little to do with whether the two former aides played dirty pool in dealing with lobbyists representing a company that wanted to buy B.C. Rail.

But the details could fuel some explosive political arguments about how ethically the Liberal government conducted itself in general.

There are two main issues where all the background documentation is about to be aired:

- What's the deal with Erik Bornmann? The lobbyist-turned-star witness went to police right after the 2003 legislature raid to "make a deal." He apparently admitted to serious criminal acts, the judge said. But there are no notes disclosed yet on why he wasn't charged or whether there is an immunity agreement.

- Who cleared former finance minister Gary Collins? He was under surveillance and under suspicion for a time, but police abruptly lost interest in him. Why? No documentation has been produced yet on why the Collins trail turned cold.

There are also a host of other questions that will now likely be answered.

How did the legislature raid come together? What exactly did it produce? How did the wiretap get installed on Collins' phone? What sort of shape was the B.C. Rail operation in?

What were the bids? What was defendant Dave Basi, the former ministerial aide, doing? And what did they suspect he was doing?

The lawyers for Basi and Bob Virk want all the information because they have three moves in mind in the weeks and months ahead.

The Liberals by now are probably hoping two of them succeed.

One is a motion for a stay of proceedings based on abuse of process. That would sweep everything under the rug, which wouldn't displease the Liberal party at all.

Another is a motion to suppress all the wiretap and video-surveillance evidence. That would also avoid a lot of potential Liberal embarrassment. Generally speaking, nobody sounds good on wiretaps.

But the third move in the defence playbook probably has the government terrified.

That's the expected contention, if the trial proceeds, that the two former aides "acted with the knowledge and permission of their superiors."

That's a permissible defence in cases like this.

Whether it works or not, it would widen the pool of suspicion around the whole affair to include more than a few Liberals who would vastly prefer to stay out of it.

Full story at:
http://www.canada.com:80/victoriatimescolonist/news/comment/story.html?id=c4541e14-1301-45dd-bd54-4d10f8c7239a

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Comments:
"Whether it works or not, it would widen the pool of suspicion around the whole affair to include more than a few Liberals who would vastly prefer to stay out of it.
"


I don't really care if they "prefer" to stay out of "it" now. More important, I feel, is whether they chose to be participants in unethical and possibly illegal activities "then."
 
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