Monday, June 04, 2007


Stunning 100% win for Basi-Virk defence disclosure application; Justice Bennett scathing on RCMP, Special Prosecutor



Bill Tieleman

Justice Bennett criticizes "substantial failure to respect the disclosure rights of the accused".

It's not often one side in a court case gets everything it asked for in a legal application but that's exactly what happened today in BC Supreme Court, where Justice Elizabeth Bennett granted every request made by defence lawyers for David Basi, Bob Virk and Aneal Basi - the former government aides facing serious charges in the BC Legislature trial.

Justice Bennett - in a 37-page written decision - effectively rips the RCMP and Special Prosecutor for failing to adequately disclose evidence to the defence.

"The defence is entitled to disclosure in a timely fashion. This rather extensive review of the many problems with this case demonstrates that disclosure has not been sufficiently made in a timely way."

Bennett continues: "I regret that I must make the following order in such broad and sweeping terms. However, given the substantial failure to respect the disclosure rights of the accused, this order is the only way I believe I can ensure that no miscarriage of justice will occur."

"In terms of police notes, I make the following order:

Every police officer or civilian who touched or spoke about this investigation, regardless of what branch of the investigation they were involved in and regardless of rank or role undertaken will review every piece of paper he or she has and ensure it is submitted to the Crown forthwith. This includes but is not limited to notes, briefing notes, continuation reports, e-mail and anything marked 'not for disclosure'," Bennett wrote.

Justice Bennett also ordered Special Prosecutor Bill Berardino - missing from the entire disclosure proceedings, including today - to provide written answers to questions from the defence on the immunity agreement with key crown witness Erik Bornmann, the former provincial lobbyist.

That agreement in particular will now see the light of day, after Special Prosecutors said there was no written deal - even though that his Crown policy.

Justice Bennett was unequivocal in her decision, which she read in court:

"There is no question that the defence is entitled to all of the details of any arrangement with Mr. Bornmann. Such arrangement is generally not protected by any privilege," Bennett wrote.

"There have been too many wrongful convictions based on informant information which was obtained in dubious circumstances. I do not make such a link at this time; however, that is the reason that the defence is entitled to full disclosure when dealing with immunity agreements," she said.

Justice Benett also ordered that the defence have access to review seven file cabinets of information related to the drug charges file that first triggered the BC Legislature raid. While the defence will not be permitted to view the documents themselves, they will be able to know what documents are there and whether the documents have either been disclosed or marked not for disclosure appropriately.

More on this decision later on this blog and in 24 hours newspaper on Tuesday.

Both sides will be back in BC Supreme Court on Thursday June 7 at 10 a.m. to deal with further details and presumably scheduling for the defence's Charter of Rights application, as well as another defence disclosure application.

That application will ask for documents relating to the BC Rail privatization deal and could reach into very politically sensitive files right into the office of BC Premier Gordon Campbell.

Posted by Bill Tieleman at 1:29 PM

Posted here in full with Bill's permission. To leave your thanks on Bill's web-site, go to:


Further details by Bill Tieleman
24 Hours - June 5, 2007

... "We're very pleased with this result," said Michael Bolton, David Basi's lawyer. "Disclosure is absolutely critical to a fair trial."

NDP MLA Leonard Krog said the decision should force Premier Gordon Campbell and Attorney-General Wally Oppal to answer questions arising from the testimony, including defence allegations that Basi worked with officials in the premier's office on media manipulation and dirty tricks.

"The pretence they continue to hold won't stand public scrutiny. They have to answer questions," Krog said outside the court.

Defence and Crown return to court Thursday to discuss further details of the case, including additional defence applications that could see the case dismissed.


Now that's the flavour I've been missing. Kudos to Madame Justice Bennett.

DO you think Berardino will resign?
Thank you BC Mary for posting these articles by Mr. T & Neal Hall. Three cheers for Judge Bennett!!!!I have such huge admiration for this ethical Judge -this bodes well for all British Columbians best interests.

Through some act of God, this case found its way into Judge Bennett's hands; somehow she has seen her way clear to do the right thing instead of the politically expediate 'thing' unlike some of her colleagues on the bench.

She is brave. She is ethical. She clearly GETS IT.

Her reward will be the tidal wave of respect she gains from decent people who know that the courts have become tainted politically to protect high proile public figures who are not worthy of the same.

SOCK IT THEM, JUDGE BENNETT! . . . . and then run for Premier.
Now we know that there is a justice that, after giving extensive latitude to the prosecution and the special prosecutor, is not fooling around. As I see it the prosecution has no alternative but to comply or be cited for contempt. This means at this stage they cannot drop the charges. They will have to wait till trial actually begins. IMHO
Within 3 months the judge will toss out all charges against Basi and Virk due to the mishandling of this affair.

The Liberals will be off the hook and the public will never know the true scope of the fiasco.
anon 8:18 - that's been pretty much your dyspeptic view from day one. I doubt the justice system is quite so decrepit in this province as you seem to believe. In fact, I’ve been suspicious of your posts here for some time now.

Are you sure you’re not in the employ of the Campbell Bureau of Public Affairs?

Today was an enormous victory for the accused and for openness and the public interest.

I'm concerned about the fact that written reasons don't seem to have been widely circulated. I hope some members of the media follow up and ensure public disclosure of the document Madam Justice Bennett read to the court today. We move along. The wheels of justice grind slowly – but they grind exceeding fine.
Anonymous (8:18 pm)~ With all due respect, even if your prediction is correct, after 3 months of the truth being put on the table, added to what has surfaced to date, the public will clearly get the picture & none of them will be off the hook. It is far too late in the day for that!

The court of public opinion holds ultimate power on this fiasco. There WILL be significant fallout & it is long overdue.

As BC Mary has said on many occassions - a full public Inquiry will be demanded - the truth is all that is needed to tip the scales of justice.
I tend to agree with secondlook and the anon who isn't (8:18). If all the stuff that has been let out of the bag by now is allowed to be put back in and all the criminals merrily continue their scams, we don't deserve a democracy.

Thank whatever God you may believe in for Justice Bennett. As the one anon said:

"The wheels of justice grind slowly" and hopefully "exceedingly fine"
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